Batman Detective #881: 881 is the wrap-up of Scott Snyder’s run on Detective Comics, which started off with a story about a dead killer whale in a bank lobby (which I thought was brilliantly bizarre) and got better from there. In the last couple months, I’ve become a big fan of Scott Snyder’s work, especially on Batman. He can infuse a classic horror story vibe with a great, flowing detective story and there’s always some great gimmick (for lack of a better word) that draws me in, be it the whale or what have you. And his dialogue can be downright chilling. He writes nauseatingly evil bad guys that I can’t get enough of.
As for the art in Detective, though I was a bit turned off by Jock’s artwork at first, I’ve come to love it for all it’s clunky awesomeness. I get a little bored of artwork that looks really polished. It just has no soul. It almost seems programmed, like it came from a computer. I know someone drew it, but it’s lifeless. Jock’s is not. At times, it’s reminiscent of a child’s crayon scrawling- what it lacks in technical precision it makes up for in joy and enthusiasm. And his cover on the last issue of Detective (#880) was astoundingly cool.
All that being said, this final issue ran a bit long for my tastes. When I feel a story begin to wrap up, I get a little antsy. I’m done and ready to move on. I felt that the villain, Jimmy Gordon’s psychopathic son James’ rambling monologue to Dick was too expository. I also thought the the supposed motivation for his sadistic murder rampage was weak– he lacks empathy. That explains why he’s able to do what he does but not why he does it. People with antisocial personality disorder lack compassion for other people which makes them take bigger risks and they’re often more willing the behave ruthlessly towards others (I’ve read that a good number of successful business people have anti-social personality disorder) but they aren’t by definition dangerous or psychotic. I realize I’m nitpicking and it’s just a work of fiction, but I felt like the lack of empathy was harped on a lot in the final pages and the story would have been better with a bit more ambiguity. But all in all, it was a great run and I’m looking forward to seeing what Snyder does in Batman #1 next month.
Batman and Robin #26: I’ve been reading this title off and on (off because some of the storyline haven’t been as compelling as others). I’m not sure if this issue was built up to in the last because I didn’t read it. To me, if was a one shot and meant to fill the void between the last issue and Batman and Robin #1 next month. First of all, the cover is really eye catching with all it’s homages to works of art and more specifically the Dada art movement. My knowledge of art history is pretty scant, so don’t make fun of me if some of the references were lost on me, but that theme is carried through the entire issue. It was obvious enough that I got it, but it’s sort of a lofty idea and at times this issue was almost pretentious. It was written by David Hine but I felt like I was reading a ripoff of Morrison’s work because there was the same suggestion of a deeper meaning but also a lack of coherency and an abundance of utter silliness– such as a villain who could turn flesh to glass and used it to turn her boyfriend’s skull into crystal so she could see his brain at work. It was a little over the top. But I did like this issue. There was a grotesquely scarred villain (and it wasn’t the Joker) and the finally few pages were mesmerizingly macabre.
Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #3: I feel like I read a lot of dark stories this week and Criminal is no exception. I’ve liked this series from the get go and it just keeps delivering. In short, it’s the tale of a man intent on killing his wife. The storyline may sound abhorrent: why would you cheer on a man who was planning on murdering his own wife? But the would-be-murderer is compelling and complex, and his wife is no peach, nor is she particularly sympathetic (flashback scenes show how she manipulated the protagonist as a teen and later cheated on him). It’s classic noir: morals are skewed and the characters seemed doomed by fate from the get go. It’s interesting how the story encourages you to both root for the protagonist and against him. Definitely a compelling read.
The Red Wing #2: I’m really into this book right now, and a little sad that it’s just a four issue mini. The premise: that in the future wars are fought across time by fighter pilots who can navigate time as well as their ship. The characters: a man trapped in in the past and his son who never gave up looking for him. The art: a tad bit squiggly but saved by the super clean layouts. I’m serious, this book makes me feel almost tranquil– it’s that clean. The bottom line: so far, it’s a great sci fi tale and despite the fact that it deals with a notoriously hard-to-grasp concept, it’s not bogged down with weighty explanations or boring science babble. The character development in this issue gets ramped up and the end delvers a nice little twist that make me look forward to the next issue (as if I wasn’t already).
Well, that’s it for now but I might be back with a few more reviews in a couple days.