Thursday, June 7, 2012

Batman #9

I already know this issue ends with Batman running off to Arkham!

Last issue, the Night of the Owls began with a dozen Talons overrunning Wayne Manor. The Talons seem to know that Bruce Wayne is Batman which means the Owls know that Bruce Wayne is Batman, right? At this point, I think the secret identity is just a technicality. It's the thing people mention with a wink. "Hey, Bruce, check it out! The bat signal's in the sky! Bruce? Bruce? Ha! Oh yeah."

This issue begins with Bruce Narration Boxing the history of Wayne Manor. It was first occupied by brothers Solomon and Joshua Wayne in 1857, two years after they purchased it. The lag time was due to clearing out the bats in the caves beneath the manor. How'd they do this? Tiger Owls. It was 1855 so I don't think they can be blamed for trying to solve one infestation by introducing a predatory species into the environment. Because now the Owls have taken over Gotham and some old timey Waynes are at fault!

I'd also be remiss not to point out that "different" is spelled "differrent" in the Narration Boxing. I can't play favorites and just pretend like the editing is super awesome even on the best series in the New 52! But despite the horrible DC editing, this book still shines.

Well, it did last issue! I haven't read this issue yet!

Batman has donned his Bat Armor to fight over a half dozen Talons in the Batcave. The armor is not just to give him a defensive advantage but to protect him against the cold. Alfred is dropping the temperature in the cave as low as he can because it slows down the Talons' undead metabolism. Which is probably why Mr. Freeze is on the Talons' list of people to kill! And that's why he's been advertised as the guy in the Annual! Because they're going to need him to save Gotham City and freeze these rat-eating bastards!

Since these guys are merely automatons, re-animated walking stiffs, Batman can go balls out and destroy them. Even though they speak like normal people and act like normal (if aggressively crazy) people. But I guess since they were once dead, Batman can send them back to their graves. Although he still wouldn't kill the vampires in I, Vampire.

I seem to have a fondness for these less detailed, tiny people pictures.

Even with his armor and his newly found ability to kill (you know, kind of), Batman is overwhelmed by their undead strength and their numbers. But just when he's down and they're about to kill him, a flood of thousands of bats fly up from the depths of the caverns, driven out by the intense cold. They attack the Talons at the same time as the cold begins to freeze the alchemical mixture in the Talons' blood that brings them back to life. And with the return of the bats comes the return of Batman's confidence. He throws off the Batman War Armor and gets back to business.

With the Talons freezing, Batman heads out into the Gotham night in the Batmobile to help out any remaining people on the Talons' hit list. Only Jeremiah Arkham and Lincoln March are still alive and not protected by one of the Bat Family. Batman heads off to Arkham first.

Spoiler: Jeremiah Arkham survives!

After that adventure, Batman heads off to help Lincoln March. Lincoln March is the guy I thought was the Court of Owls' Talon when the first Talon made an appearance. But Lincoln March was attacked by the Talon and wounded by it. So how could it have been Lincoln? So I dropped that theory. But now we see that many Talons exist. All the Talons that have ever worked for the Court of Owls are kept to reanimate at any time. But they always have a living Talon working for them, right? So maybe it's still Lincoln March since his childhood days fit the profile of a person the Court would pick.

When Batman gets to March, it's too late.

I guess Lincoln isn't a Talon after all! I guess if they couldn't have Nightwing, they didn't want anyone!

Thanks to Lincoln's note, Batman now knows where the Court of Owls resides. And now he's off to clean out the nest. That probably takes place in the Annual.

Well, that wasn't much of a commentary! That was definitely a synopsis though. When I really enjoy the comic I'm reading, my suspension of disbelief really kicks in and I just keep reading! Who can write funny crap about a well written comic? Stupid Snyder! Do something ridiculous! I wonder if J.T. Krul wrote the thing about the bats attacking the Talons, would I have criticized the shit out of it? Probably! But he also would have written it in a confusing way. Even before Batman said that the cold drove the bats out of the depths of the cave, I knew that's why they suddenly came out. I knew there was a reason for it and not just some magic writer's decision that that was how Batman would be saved.

The point is: if a writer builds a real, believable world around his story, the reader can appreciate that thought went into every decision. But when a writer storyboards scenes that make little sense just because he needs a certain thing to happen in one panel and then abandons the world of that panel in the next panel just to do something else, the reader will see every stupid decision the writer makes. He will lie exposed to the reader's judgment and criticism. Just a little bit of work and a resistance to lazy writing will go a long way and the audience will respect you for it.

The back-up story is narrated by Jarvis Pennyworth in a letter to his son, Alfred. In it he pleads with his son never to take up the position caring for the Waynes in Wayne Manor. He calls the place cursed. He tells also how happy he was to work with the family and how much he loved Bruce. But then something happened. Martha Wayne became angry at what the mayor was doing to the city. And though Jarvis would love to blame her for whatever happened next, he knows that it is his fault.

Uh oh! Why the nest reference?!

At some later date, after whatever Martha was referring to about leaving the nest to help Gotham against this corrupt mayor, Jarvis writes the letter to Alfred and tries to leave the premises and head back to England. He unlocks the front gate and tries to leave but crashes into the, once again, locked gate. And then he sees a Talon watching him in the moonlight.

This Talon looks cooler than the modern ones.

And that's the end of Part One of Three. This may be the first back-up story in the New 52 $3.99 issues that I've really liked a lot! I did like the way the spy one was done back in one of the issues of Men of War. And the Shazaam comic I'm enjoying. But this one has really set an interesting tone. It feels like a really important Batman story that has never been told and will really change some perceptions of the Wayne family. I'm excited!

Batman #9 Rating: No change because it can't get any higher!

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