Thursday, May 31, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight #8

I asked in another commentary why Batman has so many Wonderland foes. And now we get to see them all together! Maybe Finch and Harris will "make up" some new ones. I put make up in quotes because I really meant steal or plagiarize or borrow without asking.

This is my last issue of the New 52 until I'm technically caught up. Technically because it's currently May 31st and the only comics left in the stack came out in this May! Technically because that means I still have 50 regular issues and 2 Annuals left to read (I'm actually caught up on Batwing and Justice League International. This probably means I'll rush through the commentary on this one. Except it's about Wonderland, one of my favorite places, so maybe that won't happen.

First off, the cover gives credit to David Finch and Richard Friend. But that's all they did was the cover. The interior pencils are by Ed Benes and the inks by Rob Hunter and Jack Purcell. Just one of many editorial fuck ups on DC's part.

Commissioner Gordon calls Batman to take a look at a crime scene before the regular police get their hands on it. It's in the subway and dozens of corpses litter the platform and the train. And they all apparently killed each other and/or themselves.

Gordon continues to be hassled by Forbes, the idiot in Internal Affairs. Forbes has gone to the mayor and requested that Gordon undergo a psychological evaluation and Mayor Hady agreed. Gordon is a little bit pissed about it.

So the two parts of the story are tying together neatly with the title of this issue, "The Madness."
The Gotham subway is full of old closed-off tunnels which Batman has decided to investigate. The first foes he encounters are Tweddle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum prepare to have a battle.

Batman has entered Wonderland and they're all mad down there. Although, technically, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum roam the lands behind the looking glass. The Tweedles are acting loonier than usual so Batman decides they're under some for of mind control just like the passengers of the subway. Alfred, who is in radio contact with Batman, fears what this might mean for the rest of Gotham. And no sooner does he voice his fear, then he sees evidence on television that other people are being affected by the Madness.

Wouldn't Batman be investigating the subway much later than a press conference would be scheduled? This timing seems fishy and contrived!

And across Gotham, Gordon has already been scheduled to visit the shrink. Now that's really really convenient! Really!

Batman chases Dum and Dee back to their headquarters where he encounters the next Wonderland resident.

Who else when Mind Control and Wonderland are involved? And the cover highlights his participation.

The Mad Hatter has the Tweedle boys positioning a radio transmission dish over Gotham. The Hatter is spreading his madness and Batman, well, Batman stops it. With a little help from Gordon who arrives in a helicopter in time to distract the Mad Hatter. Yeah, he does it that easily. Just, you know, stops the Mad Hatter.

And that's the whole story! A story just to showcase more Wonderland villains because the White Rabbit has been running around Gotham for the last 8 issues. It also, sort of, compares Gotham to Wonderland. Are the people of Gotham prone to violence, crime, and madness simply because they live in Gotham? Were the residents of Wonderland mad because of the influence of Wonderland? Or is the madness already there in the heads and hearts of the people, just waiting for something like The Mad Hatter to tip them past the breaking point.

Who cares? The Mad Hatter is a big jerk that caused a bunch of people to kill themselves and then Batman knocked him off of a building. Batman seems awfully careless with the lives of villains in these Dark Knight stories. Is that why they're Dark Knight stories? Is he supposed to be a bit more ruthless in these than in the others? This story was also just filler until the Night of Owls story in Issue #9.

Batman: The Dark Knight #8 Rating: No change. So this is the comic where the creators pull an emotion or a state of being out of a hat and then write a story based on that?

"Fear!" "Oh! Oh! I can fill seven fucking issues on that! Easy!
"Madness!" "Oh! Wonderland characters! One issue story!
"Impotence!" Yes! More White Rabbit cameos! Four issues!

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