bats

As our long term readers already know, I don’t read many superhero books. It’s not that I don’t like superheroes – I love them – it’s just, well, invariably I tend to find most titles pretty boring. I sat down with the first two Captain America trades the other day and I wanted to love that shit, only I really didn’t. The art, though pretty, was muddy and a chore to trawl through (in what’s supposed to be an action book!), the story likewise, and the thing just didn’t seem to regard itself as a comicbook. No…twas a big muddy storyboard, and a big muddy storyboard lacking in fun. Essentially the experience made me even more resolute in my Mozza-bats love. Morrison’s Batman is never, ever boring, and it knows all about the form it’s cowled in. Not great, great art, but totally what I want a monthly comic to be. Fast-paced, colourful and pulpy, with flashes of *depth*, funny, involving and, most importantly… How did Botswana Beast describe #682 in our last email correspondence? Ah yes – ‘typically berserk’.

I think that sums the run and the issue up nicely, don’t you?

Just to comment on Alex’s Ross‘s cover before we get into this. Ross is one of those artists I feel tremendously ambivalent towards. At first I thoroughly enjoyed his the superheroes-caught-on-celluloid style, but two gazillion money shots of the World’s Finest’s superpaunches later and his aesthetic’s started to wear a little thin – also, there’s something intensely irritating about the way Ross’s popularity serves as an indicator of the average comic reader’s philistinism: really real realistic photorealism equates with really real art – all that crap. But you can’t blame the artist for the way his work’s recieved – he’s not responsible for the attitudes of his fanbase. So, yep, I can still enjoy a bit of the Ross, in spite of my refusal to endorse him as the best artist evah !11!(etc. etc.), and the cover to 682 brought a big smile to this poodle’s face.

I don’t know how the conversation played out behind the scenes, but Ross’s imagery captures perfectly the fiery florescent energy of the story within. Indeed, it seems fitting that the (hopefully) first half of Grant’s run on Batman should be capped by cover art celebrating the weird, campy, psychotoxic 60′s atmosphere he’s been channelling for so much of his run (and if it’s the sixties we’re dealing with, then paunches, a la Adam West, should be actively encouraged) . It’s almost as though the furrowed browed blacks of the batverse have been gear-shifted, via another one of Apex chemicals loopy concoctions (more on them later), into crackling psychedelic negative. I’ve said it before in one of my rogue’s reviews, but it’s worth reiterating: madness isn’t grey, and it’s not brooding over your parent’s murder. That’s obsession. No, madness – mania certainly – often entails a superabundance of meaning, of colour, the arc light turned on inside everything. So, if the batbooks have any pretensions towards being works of *psychological* depth – if they really are interested in exploring the limits of sanity, disorder and consensus reality (and I’d argue fundamentally they are, ‘insanity’ having always been a key component of the mythos) – then the batwriters and fans generally had better get with this Joker’s eye view of bat-affairs.

Turning the page…..

PAGE 1

Again, like last issue, we’re fading in from black. In 681, however, the sequence was an attempt to approximate Batman regaining consciousness after coming into direct contact with the Joker’s poison. Here I imagine it describes the initiation of Mokaari’s Lump driven bat-hack. Could the reference to ‘the dream’, repeated later on, suggest the file-searching process is anything but a linear scouring of Bruce’s memory, and by extension that memory and consciousness are, umm, non-linear in quality also.

Why do I always get the feeling Morrison’s typing away with a copy of New Scientist lying open by the keyboard?

Just one quick thing: these aren’t real annotations. As I said last time, this is commentary, analysis, fanwank. Don’t expect detailed referencing or even a comprehensive understanding of Bat-history, ’cause you won’t get it. Having said that, yeah, of course I noticed the army fatigues, Miller’s ‘crazy vet look’. I just love watching Morrison invoke everything from the granite-faced seriousness of Year One to Ace the Bathound in one issue. This ish is where it all gets distilled and spat out as pure kitchen-sink technicolor. As they draw to a close, Morrison likes flushing his narratives down the plughole and seeing what the frothing conceptual whirlpool looks like before it sinks and settles, and, in this case, seeds the less than fertile ground of the DCU with a new set of possibilities. 

PAGES 2 & 3

I might consider resigning too….

And so the skip search through the photo-album of Batman’s life begins. This is the issue that allows Morrison to explore, albeit briefly, a great deal of the stuff he talked about in his interviews – the stories from which he drew down the atmospheric core of his run – and in that sense it serves as an enjoyable coda for his batnovel, even if, sadly, it’s a tie-in episode. Finishing one’s tenure on a book with a crossover story isn’t ideal to be honest, but I can let it go largely because 682 rocked pretty bloody hard.

PAGE 4

Aaah, the primal bat creature, the inspiration for the whole Batman project, reduced to the kind of lumpen, soon to be maggot ridden, present my old cat Dennis would leave for me on the kitchen floor (and how does one dispose of such a beast? Uh-uh, it won’t fit in the bin. Hmmm… Better burn it…) Yep, Morrison’s all about the nosedives from the exalted to the earthly – all about the filth – and it makes sense he’d want to present an issue or two from Alfred’s perspective (even if in this case ‘Alfred’ = massive psychic turd). The character’s gently sardonic, urbane, clipped wit obviously jibes well with Morrison’s and expresses this need he has to always emphasise the ‘Below’ part of the famous Hermetic maxim.

Panel 3 serves as the first instalment of the ongoing Julie Madison gag, where she makes a series of lovelorn intrusions on the peripheries of Batman’s insane world, only to be delicately rebuffed by the put upon man-servant every time. This mopping up after Bruce Wayne characterises the issue and successfully manages to underline the stark contrast between the way Batman chooses to view himself and the rather more rounded, comical, sometimes hugely annoying superhero cum spoiled rich kid he really is. Most of the time, like the bat-creature discussed above, Batman is presented to us as iconic, fundamental – mythic – but 682 is chiefly concerned with the man, his humanity, as represented by Robin, Batwoman, and his ever faithful butler. I think it’s good to bear this in mind as we proceed.

PAGE 5

So here we have Alfred (the Lump) revising Bruce’s memory. I’m wondering how this works. Maybe things’ll be clarified next issue, but right now I have to admit to a bit of head scratching. As far as I understand it the Lump operates like a trojan-virus, installing himself in Batman’s head disguised as a loved one, and then sets about strip mining the hard drive (to extend the metaphor) of all its data. I suppose the narration that sometimes serves to connect events is the creature’s way of gently guiding itself through the system, a story told to Bruce by a ‘friend’, triggering memory-files for the Lump to pillage. This is mad God tech, isn’t it? It would seem the thing’s perfectly able to clothe himself in the remembered individual’s personality. The Lump literally speaks with Alfred’s ‘voice’. The astute observations, the sense of humour, the general attitude are most definitely *his*. Utterly convincing in every respect.

Why is the memory revised, anyway? Well, returning to the puzzle of Bruce’s intransigent subjectivity for a moment; it’s quite probable that in reality the bat didn’t come crashing through the window, that this is just the way Bruce in his delirious state, and at the felt level, the level of the soul, experienced the event. The thing smashed its way into his heart, sure, but the window? Not so much. The melodrama involving Alfred’s exasperated resignation and demonic, flying hellbeasts is simply typical of the way the Dark Knight sees. Because he doesn’t have to clear up all the blood, guano and find the fire-lighters afterwards.

So…is Bruce Wayne’s sober, rational, down to earth side kicking in here in the form of the Alfred-lump? Always reassuring, always solid, always COMPLETELY EVIL!!! And is the Lump seeking to undermine Bruce’s internal power base with lies, damned lies?

Will we ever know?

Probably not. (*winks at Chris Miller*)

Whatever. It’s fun to question the veracity of this quintessential bat-event.

I like the Sidewinder costume. Well done artist. And ‘cold engine’? Cold blooded? Fun. So the car works like a refrigerator? Cold fusion?

PAGE 6

There really needs to be more haunted castles and werewolves in Batman books – ‘s the only aspect of the mythos Grant’s run’s been missing. That reminds me, talking of Chris, I just wanted to touch on the ‘supernatural’ thing. Grant’s books often employ ostensibly supernatural elements – in the case of Batman: the Devil, magic spells/words conjured out of Bat-engrams (his father’s last utterance, a catastrophic trip to another planet, etc.), Batmite – but the explanation for them is weirder still. Check out the way, in the Invisibles, he approaches ghosts, UFOs, aliens, demons, Gods and incubi for clearer idea of what I mean. Morrison likes to bring the paranormal up to date, psychedelicising it, fusing it with the latest theories doing the rounds in the pop-science mags, a hefty dose of magick and model agnosticism. So, anyway, ignore the way this paragraph began (apart from the bit about castles); Morrison’s run’s the natural successor to all that early/70′s bat-gothic jazz. The supernatural’s there in spades, but it ain’t your Daddy’s supernatural (unless your Daddy is Robert Anton Wilson or Israel Regardie).

Bruce views the bat as his destiny, his totem, but Alfred points out the arbitrariness of this application, arguing convincingly it might just as well have been a cricket hopping through the open window that night. Again, is this an attempt to bring Bruce back down to earth, to reconnect him to his humanity? Or is it another ploy to destabilise the mythic-core driving him? Is it both? I’m sure the Lump’s able to employ actual bat-history, lived conversations, as weapons.

PAGE 7

Alfred again, blocking the doorway and obscuring Julie’s view of all the death-traps, Mad Monks and Monster Men.

PAGE 8

And at the end of the first year (see the image ripped from Year One), before he perfected the brand and the batmobile was red, Bruce fields more of Alfred’s concerns for his health and sanity.

Batman isn’t having any of it. Initially I assumed he was being defensive (‘I’m not chasing thrills. I’m crushing crime. I’m saving lives.’), but then I realised the comedy resides in the fact he believes he’s stating the reality of the situation (no exclamation marks). Bruce sounds ridiculous here, the dialogue’s so arch it hurts, but, again, 682 represents a slightly more sceptical take on the Caped Crusader’s crusade, and the absurdity is kind of the point (and isn’t it beautifully underlined by the banal domesticity encoded in the sandwich juxtaposed with the insane pompousness of the Batman and his Batcave).  Lumpy Alfred simply holds up a mirror to all this ridiculous humourlessness, insisting it represents a form of slow, drawn out suicide, even going so far as to invoke Martha and Thomas in attempt  to put the brakes on their rampaging son. Alfred’s kindly, benevolent, concerned words – even his lovingly made pastrama on rye - are, in the Lump’s hands, poison.

Oh, and, back in the actual bat pre-history, that it’s high past time for a Robin.

PAGE 9

Batman’s yuppie micro-nap made me LOLLALOL (annoying! – ED). It’s the way in the final panel he’s sitting up, leaning out of the frame and stroking his beard intensely (if indeed such a thing is possible), already having solved the problem in the split second it took the reader’s eyes to bridge the gutter.
It’s a superhuman feat, but what a freak… And here’s the first mention of the case running throughout the issue. The long and the short of it is, Batman’s uncovered some sort of conspiracy whereby Gotham’s criminal fraternity are having their weaponised aerosols, monsterman formulas and psychotropic squirting flowers supplied by a mysterious company called Apex Chemicals. It’s not that mysterious though. Not when you have the internet. Apex/Ace chemicals own the plant that saw the Joker fall into a vat of bubbling green goo, turning him into the lovable monster he is today. Hmmm, now this might be a little too obvious, but maybe, just maybe, the power behind the Apex throne listens to too much Berlin era Bowie and has a fondness for purple suits. I don’t know. Call me crazy – it’s a bit of a leap I know……

Zom disagrees, he thinks it’s run by Darkseid’s mob. Frankly I find both arguments equally compelling [given the context of this story, they're really not - Zom].

Batman really is a bit of a bastard, isn’t he?

I’ve decided only short term, physical affairs in my life. Casual relationships. Tell Julie.’

Tell Julie?

What a prick. Okay then asshole boss, I’ll tell your girlfriend she’s only fit for a quick fuck once a week, I’ll definitely be doing that. I think this might be a request too far, eh Bats? Over the past two years, Morrison’s succeeded in reversing my positions on the World’s Finest. Superman, I’ve now realised, I like a lot. He’s a good bloke. Decent. Friendly. Responsible. Batman though… He’s charming, sure. He’s cool. Charismatic, certainly. But would you really want Bruce Wayne in your life? 

I wonder if there’s a some displacement activity going on here…

‘I don’t think I could face the look in her eyes. The one that says she was right about me.’

…’Cause this is where we cut to the image of his parents graves. Is it Julie’s approval Bruce is worried about, or is it his parents? He can never know if they’d approve of his mission. He can never know if they’d feel he was doing enough. The problem is, Batman won’t ever complete his mission. He can’t save everyone. He’s permanently in a state of inadequacy.

But anyone with the cohones to dogfight zeppelins in a bat-themed gyro-copter’s got to be a dude really, eh?

PAGES 11 & 12

There’s not much to say about these pages, is there? Robin arrives on the scene.

PAGES 13 & 14

Robin the Toy Wonder. Somehow Morrison’s take on him in DC 1000000 always worked for me, even if it was hard to articulate exactly why at the time. Bruce obviously gets something cathartic from his young protege’s adventuring. It allows him to vicariously live out a childhood, but a childhood that comes armed to the teeth. No Joe Chills will weasel their way in here, oh no. Robin puts paid to that possibility every night. Dick slips into the pre-existing bat-mythos so easily, perfectly at home there amid the batplanes and batcars, because, put simply, he’s the anthropomorphised extension of all of it. The living toy. As Alfred tells it, something suddenly clicks. It’s as though with the emergence of Robin, all of this shit, including Batman and his enemies, owns up to exactly what it’s always been – one, massive child’s game – and things get appropriately silly.

Which of course leads me on to…

I can’t remember if I’ve dealt with this before, however I think the Joker’s *mood swings* might be dependent on Batman’s. If Bruce’s headspace describes the pervading emotional atmospheric conditions in Gotham, then why not? If Bats and the Joker are really having it off in Yin Yang heaven, then why not?

Jokercopters! Yip! Yip!

The Batradia had to sneak in there, didn’t it? Pesky thing.

Morrison said he’d make the Joker frightening again and I think he has. The terrible foreknowledge that he’s going to slip back into psychopathic murderer mode makes Alfred and Bruce’s conversation here hugely chilling. A laughing contest! It’s all so innocent, isn’t it? Jeez, I can’t think of a good reason why every writer shouldn’t get on board with the MeMe Joker idea. It makes sense of tons of bat-history – its so simple, elegant and accommodating. Running with a self-evidently good idea is not the same as sticking your tongue up Grant’s ego, DC staffers.

PAGE 15

Team ups as screwing. Batman via Viz.

Like Robin, Batwoman looks like a carny.

Giant typewriters! You could tick them all off one by one, couldn’t you?

PAGE 16 

Right, okay. I want to talk about drugs in the DCU. I think Moore hit on it first with Taduki in his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: in the superheroverse there be superdrugs. Whacked out Sheeeit that really does transport your soul to astral realms, other *planets* and the 5th dimension. And where would this peculiar brand of pharmaceuticals be most popular? Gotham. Especially ‘sixties’ Gotham. If you’ve ever had the misfortune to experience a bad trip, you’ll appreciate the full gravity of what’s going on with Batwoman cowering, huddled in the corner, flashing in and out of our reality – the grimy basement detonating into an impossible alien world and back again. Believe it or not, I once came out with very similar dialogue after a massive dose of mushroom-tea. I saw how easy it would be to fuse with the deranged psychedelic vortex my head had become – how effortless it would be to let go – and nothing resembling a normal poodle would come back. The ‘death’ doesn’t have to be taken literally, it might just mean the death of personhood. Believe me, that’s bad enough.

But it could also mean actual death. This is a superhero book after all, where the dreamlands gift us with batradias…. I imagine the Joker habitually doses himself with this stuff, much more at home amongst the bird people than he is on our paltry plane.  

Hmmm. I don’t know if anyone’s pointed it out yet, but that’s a distinctly Lloigorish structure sparking and towering above our drugged up heroes. Go check out your Invisibles back-catalogue and tell me if that isn’t the same ‘vehicle’ King Mob and John a Dreams discover beneath the Church in Philly. It’s got the same, gross vegetable cum octo-bat look, certainly. Is this a world already conquered by the Cthulhu mythos? Is this where these things break in? Morrison knows their natural home is the fifth dimension, and we’re skimming the surface of it here.

The grin’s still lurking behind it, though. Bloody bat-wings…. I ask you….

PAGE 17

Rooftop brooding. And Robin always knew about Kathy, didn’t he? He’d heard the rumours that she was a thrill-seeker, a bit of a player. Being a superheroine was fun for a while, but once it all gets a bit too heavy, well, there’s always some mountain to climb or exotic undersea ruins to visit, isn’t there?  I’d love to write a Kathy Kane mini-series, following her adventures as Batwoman and beyond. I think I like her.

More coolness! The history of that creepy vault. All the things it’s seen: Monster men hammering at its reinforced door, and then, years later, cleaned up for Hurt’s isolation experiment and Batman’s John C Lilly moment, the room recalls his violent ranting and raving as he journeys to the centre of the cyclone. The terrible violations of the Franken-batmen experiments… You can still hear terrified, muffled crying and sobbing coming from behind the plate glass late at night… Spooky. Again, you could get whole comic books out of this.

PAGES 18 & 19

The Lump speaks in emotional aggregates: command words that allow him to produce certain effects in Bruce’s consciousness; to unearth specific memories.

‘Hurt’

at once refers to the good Doctor and guides Bruce to Alfred’s funeral. And is this where Bruce gets his first intimation that this is all a lie? It’s…

‘Not Alfie.’

He’s certainly wrestling, struggling with something in the bottom left hand panel. Is he trying to re-establish himself?

Again with the idea that Gotham’s gangsters are performance artists, pop stars – the collision of superheroes and celebrity culture. I have a few things to say about that, none of them very coherent, in our Xmas podcast.

Batman knows just how stupid he’d look on a game show, and this, along with the line about ‘Crime. Madness. Horror…’ sums up just how effective his rogues have been in ousting him from his natural element. He’s being made to feel very uncomfortable, very dis-appointed – fighting on the enemies turf…..

PAGE 20

…But be careful what you wish for.

As usual, I haven’t read anyone else’s annotations for this issue, but I’m willing to bet everyone picked up on the Joker’s threat. One more time: this is scary stuff. We all know what he means by ‘practical jokes’. We’ve all read Death in the Family andKilling Joke. You just want to warn Bruce, there, at the bottom of the page, that it’s too late. The monster’s already returned. This isn’t simply horrorshow, though, it’s tragic as well. Everything’s about to get so nasty for all of them. There’s a real air of doom about this page.

Disco too.

Go Nightwing!

Look at how the batverse is all grown up again.

And then think about the Joker and what he’s about to become.

PAGES 21 & 22

So Batman put away childish things when Robin quit, did he? That’s not much of a surprise. He’s been craving getting back to basics, I’m sure. Just him, a utility belt and a thousand dark alleyways.

Ask yourself the question, is the Lump still weaponising Alfred’s words? Is all this talk about worlds without a Batman simply a way of softening Bruce up, making him more vulnerable to the mental ransacking he’s undergoing. Sure, on the surface of things Alfred’s attempting to reassure Bruce Batman’s needed, but underneath all that is he being commanded to lay down his arms, to

‘Dream’

As soon as he senses this and succeeds in reasserting himself (which by the way, is pure Batrock!!), the narrative is overcome by a nightmare of pampered ineffectualness; where Bruce Wayne really is the Playboy dilettante, the Mummy’s boy we always knew he could be. We talked about Ericksonian commands last time, and this seems to me to be where Grant’s coming from with the Lump. It’s not the literal meaning of what he says that’s important, but the embedded ideas within it: the secret, Trojan language.

PAGES 23 & 24

Not much to say here, really. Only that I’m sold on the idea of a bunch of rampaging Batman, whose brilliant powers of detection, iron will and clarity of purpose are utilised in the service of evil and anti-life. It’s a really grim fate. The batverse hijacked by the evil god – bat-swarmtroopers as his ‘legacy’. Batman is comic enormously concerned with notions of lineage and legacy. Its focus is always prismatic. That’s why Demonbats was ‘the worst ghost of all’. He represents a Gotham gone to the dogs. Batman as the Bad Father. All that fighting and struggling reduced to cinders by the fiery gusts of his flamethrower. And now we have a similar situation – the world will, in the end, be worse off for having a Batman, not better. His parents died for nothing.

No wonder he’s screaming in the final panel.

Before I go -

I’m fairly certain everyone’s mentioned this by now, but Battle of the Cowl and the rest of it are hobbled dramatically by one obvious fact: Bruce Wayne is still at the helm of this book!

24 pages this time?

We out.

(Now go read TBMD’s totally un-batrelated review of Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss. it’ll do you good!)

42 Responses to “Batman #682: I’m warning you, Mozza….”

  1. Carl Weathers Says:

    I can’t even begin to describe how the art was an improvement this issue. The storytelling in the top of Bruce’s head off frame when he wakes up, suggesting this dickish johnny bravo jumps. Robin on the typewriter. Really. Bat X Zeppelins. Yay fuckin yay.

    “Alfie” reminded me of Michael Kane’s two roles. Hh.

  2. Zom Says:

    I simply don’t get this business about the art being a huge improvement. It was better, sure, but it struck me as pretty generic.

    I did, however, love this fractured psyche of an issue. It was pure, liquid Morrison

  3. HitTheTargets Says:

    “Again, is this an attempt to bring Bruce back down to earth, to reconnect him to his humanity? Or is it another ploy to destabilise the mythic-core driving him? Is it both?”

    Bearing in mind The Lump’s mission, it’s just an honest question: Why the bat? Of course, the double-secret meaning behind that is “Will we need it when we mass produce your psyche?” but it’d take some kind of, I don’t know… World’s Greatest Detective to find an implied meaning to an implied meaning.

  4. darkzzzdimenesionzzztbreakingnthroughvv « Mindless Ones Says:

    [...] Mind-dock established with entity amypoodle. Batman #682 commentary online [...]

  5. Carl Weathers Says:

    Zom, I actually thought most of the problems I had with this issue was entirely on Morrison’s fault. The art seemed like a huge improvement on account of the fact that faces were recognizable, anatomies and perspectives were bland and open to immersion instead of explodey-Image-pin=up-splash, Robin invoked a infantile cuteness that reminded me of this universe as a toy shop (a place to play in), shapes were solid, the lines were contained without being overtly stuck. It’s bland, but compare to Daniels’ attempt in talking-heads blandness in RIP’s first issue (the scenes in the cave, or Gordon’s office — all very awkward, stilted, even the blandness in conventional use of space throughout the page diagram was awkward even in the most simple of things).

    But more importantly, little things like Bruce Wayne waking up. They’re little things, the most important things, the ones that build the entire thing, that are with you throughout the entire reading, the carefully thought out little seconds and sintaxes between panels. Only there wasn’t much to be had here, on account of the fact that it wasn’t really so much a story, but a series of flashbacks.

  6. Zom Says:

    I’m thinking that was a rhetorical question, HTT, and I’ve got to own up to preferring poodle’s reading.

    It seems to me that the Lump’s mission can’t simply be viewed as downloading information since, as this issue makes clear, minds aren’t like computers – they’re reactive, squidgey, strange, and they can suffer (see the final panel). By presenting multiple choice totems, the bat-myth is necessarily decentered – shown as something that isn’t essential and that is capable of being mass produced (for Darkseid). Aren’t those cool alternative Batmen a bit like collect-’em-all toys? This is Batman as devalued, possessed of no essence.

    Darkseid Is

    So, yeah, your reading definitely works, but I’d like to layer in Amy’s also.

  7. Zom Says:

    Please not to lecture me on the importance of comic art in comic storytelling, Carl. I know you probably don’t intend to be read in that way, but it’s a little hard not to when you’re going on about syntaxes between panels, etc…

    I just don’t think that Daniel is quite as bad as you obviously do.

    I’d agree that this issue wasn’t much of a story – as TBMD pointed out when we were recording the podcast, there’s actually very few actual multi-panel sequences suggesting motion in this book – it’s all static, jarring. But whatever it was doing I enjoyed the hell out of its bizarre aesthetic.

    We say it a lot, but GM seemed to getting down with a hardcore Lynchean vibe this ish.

  8. amypoodle Says:

    TBMD also pointed out how each panel is a world, or a thought. In 682 movement between panels isn’t as important as the moving parts within the panels themselves.

    If you know what I mean.

    Problems with the last episode I can see – a bit – but with this one, Carl? Are trying not to enjoy yourself?

  9. Zom Says:

    I don’t know… This stuff definitely isn’t for everyone, Poodle.

  10. Carl Weathers Says:

    Sorry, didn’t mean to come off as patronizing. Just felt the need to really poke around to clear up to myself what’s my problem with Daniels’ work, how each panel feels like it’s a different scene on account of being so unrelated to each other and without volume (like you said, static). So, it wasn’t so much explanatory – but more like the Joker, in Dark Knight, having to wonder off going “all the little… emotions…” and making the little jazz fingers in an autopsy on his own insides.

  11. Carl Weathers Says:

    Oh no, don’t get me wrong, Amy. I liked it. But I can’t say I didn’t had my share of problems with it (but can’t remember perfectly without the issue at hand).

  12. Eric Garrison Says:

    Excellent post. Why are the critiques of Morrison’s issues actually better than the actual story?

    Does anyone know if Morrison is continuing on Batman? I think DC is having him replaced next year.

  13. Zom Says:

    Perhaps because some of the symbolism and meaning has been obscured by the art and/or some of the storytelling choices. Plus there’s Amy’s inimitable style!

    With this latest ish, however, I thought that much of the good stuff was easily grasped.

    As for Morrison continuing, no-one knows, hence Poodle’s plea in each of these post titles. In a recent interview Mike Marts suggested that they want him back a few months down the line, but that things are still up in the air

  14. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    I simply don’t get this business about the art being a huge improvement. It was better, sure, but it struck me as pretty generic.

    In actual fact, and I know Jog says the storytelling is better this ish and who am I, etc., etc. (I’d normally believe him, but it just seems to me, this time, as if he’s made that up) – anyway, in actual fact, I think both occasions the oft-beleaguered Tony Daniel(no plural) has had a fill-in, particularly the abysmal Ryan Benjamin ish, I’ve liked the art a good bit less. I’ve been terribly mean about Tony “singular” Daniel in the past, but he seems at least interested in and hugely self-critical about his craft, and for the most part I’m just happy there are legible pictures. Will I be quantifying that in any further fashion? No!

  15. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    Although, frankly, it’s an outrage that Doug Mahnke is drawing this week’s Nightwing when he could’ve done a proper Mozz FC tie-in. Fox sake, DC!

  16. Gunderic Mollusk Says:

    Somehow, the purple-sweatered pansy that is Bruce Wayne appearing in full interactive process in this issue sent this reverberation back to that moment in the first issue of Grant’s current Batman run, when Alfred commented on the growl in Batman’s voice, and Bruce Wayne’s presence at the art opening sent forth those Ninja Man-Bats. I’m wondering whether Bruce Wayne has been the antagonist for this entire run, explicitly or not. Wouldn’t it be a kick if Apex Chemicals was one of Waynecorp’s many acquisitions? This is our hero being choked by periwinkle cashmere.

  17. Zom Says:

    Christ, I wish Moz had better luck with his artists…

  18. Chris Miller Says:

    I liked it a good deal more than the preceding issues. Not that it didn’t raise a lot of unanswered questions (and leave old ones dangling), but there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that when (as in this case) those questions seem genuinely relevant to Batman’s life and career. Meanwhile, the story in which they were situated was suspenseful and emotionally evocative in a way R.I.P. just never was.

  19. David Uzumeri Says:

    Seeing Mahnke’s name on the Nightwing cover blew my mind. Doesn’t he have two issues of Final Crisis and an issue of Green Lantern that’s been constantly delayed until the end of freaking December to finish?

    WHERE ARE MY RED LANTERNS, DOUG? I NEED MY RED LANTERNS!

    (Note: David Uzumeri is the only member of Funnybook Babylon, 4th letter! *or*, as far as I can tell, Mindless Ones that is at all enthused about Red Lanterns.)

  20. Zom Says:

    (I secretly like multi-coloured lanterns. I’ve always (double-secretly) wanted to see armies of Space God heralds too)

  21. David Uzumeri Says:

    Finally got a chance to finish reading this – fantastic job as usual, amypoodle, your commentary is so consistently intriguing, informative and entertaining. Please never stop.

    You going to be taking a look at Le Crisis Final? It’s… sure something, I just finished reading it.

  22. Zom Says:

    Is that out this week, then? Good good.

    David, imagine what his posts (to Barbelith) on the Invisibles used to be like. Grant Morrison once said that Poodle seemed to be capable of “channelling” his thoughts…

    Is weird

  23. amypoodle Says:

    I suppose I could do an FC post. It doesn’t thrill me as much as Batman, but I do liiiike it………

    Ok, yeah, it’ll be an easy way to get something up over the next two days while I sporadically hammer away at my imaginatrixce post.

    Ah, but what is the imaginatrixce…

  24. bobsy Says:

    Has anyone stopped to think, and maybe whisper in Mozzakarri’s shell-like, that creating an army of Batmans is a bloody stupid plan? Maybe if you were just copypasting those oh-so-sexy genes it would be OK, but you’re trying to copy the personality as well? Do they know what ‘copy’ means, as in ‘the same as’? Such a bad idea – they’ll have bataranged his flabby arse to the wall a million times before you can say ‘Hh.’

  25. amypoodle Says:

    I was going to mention that in the post, Bobsy, but I forgot. Absolutely.

    Re Moore: I love, love, love him also, but his beardy retentiveness sometimes fails to hit those beautifully strange, freewheeling highs that come so naturally to Morrison. Now were the bad New Gods to splice the two, I think we’d have something truly special on our hands.

  26. Thrilltone Says:

    Is there not maybe the worry that a mix of Moore and Morrison might go wrong and lead to the ambiguous No-Beard/All-Beard at the end of the 7S Guardian subway pirates story? Do we really want him to write our superhero stories?

    I know I do.

    Great writeup on this issue – glad to see a mention of the Lovecraftian terror of that batman/batwoman drugz dimension. It really is the Mountains of Madness vege-beast/Invisibles slurky timesuit isn’t it? I was going to say that a Batman/Chtulhu story would be excellent, but I’m sure one already exists, by Mike Mignola? I shall have to track that down.

    ‘Problem-solving micro-sleeps’ are the new ‘backup personality’.

    Oh, and has Mokkarri always been a smoker? I liked that small detail, makes him seem more than just “Oo-er, bad guy scientist”, (even bad guys get stressed!), and sort of shows the crushing mundanity of Darkseid’s rule. Evil gods reduced to smoking, like humans!

    I must confess I know nothing about Mokkarri than what has been in Final Crisis, but (though not the newest issue of FC. No’ been to a comic shop yet).

  27. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    I don’t think Mokkari has done anything much else of note – he made a bunch of weird green Jimmy Olsen clones in his first appearance… it’s actually interesting how, sort-of modernist, Morrison is being in appropriating lines from prior comics to fit his context exactly – he did it from Swamp Thing #50 in Zatanna #1, that’s maybe the first instance, but the Joe Chill ish of Batman actually had a credit to the writers of, whatever, Batman #150 and then the Batwoman line this ish is a direct lift. Yeah, oh, ‘Evil Factory’, Simyan & Mokkari that’s a direct lift… it’s hilarious when commentators are like “oh, I did not like this line”; speak to the King, baby.

    I like the thing Mokkari smokes, it’s like a test-tube (in FC anyway.) He is probably smoking baby-souls or something.

    bobsy – well, those Nightcrawler/Cyclops clones worked out alright for the Beast that time, eh? I think – isn’t the notion that they’re trying to repurpose Batman in some way, to retain his drive and indefatigability, but you know not just straight copies, oops, *that horn sound off the TV show*, thunk, Batarang. I die.

  28. The Satrap Says:

    …a Batman/Chtulhu story would be excellent, but I’m sure one already exists, by Mike Mignola? I shall have to track that down.

    It’s not Mignola’s best. It suffers from those common ailments of Elseworlds stories, the “how many cameos can we put to dance on the head of a pin” and “oh, but isn’t it a cosy feeling, everybody behaves as expected although this is a story about Batman living off jellyfish in the Pre-Cambrian era” syndromes. The thing feels disjointed, Batman himself is a bit of an afterthought that sleepwalks from plot point to plot point, et cetera.

    Mignola is an excellent artist who surrounds himself with other excellent artists, and his stuff drips with charm. However, when his stories do not flow the underlying flatness comes to the fore.

    It’s still worth getting, though. The guy doing the art chores is a bit like Paul Pope, with less flair and less sexy, but it’s still good enough. And some details like the Shoggothised Two-face are actually quite creative.

    PS: Concerning #682, I’ll do my best to be a tad more circumspect with the thread hijacking this time, once I get the issue. Promise. Cross my heart. Bad, bad Satrap. Precious Satrap. My preciousss. Gollum.

    Gollum.

  29. Zom Says:

    You haven’t bloody read it!?

  30. The Satrap Says:

    Not yet, no. I sold my soul to the internet, and the internet sells me comics in exchange.

    Which comes to show that a soul is not worth a plugged nickel these days, because there were additional costs. Like horrendous delays.

  31. Thrilltone Says:

    Cheers for info regarding Mignola CthulhuBats thing, Satrap! I’m gonna look it up on Ebay, I think (totally agree about the major elseworlds problem, though. They are always pretty much just identical to established stories, but maybe they’re wearing cavalier outfits or something).

    Oh, see the Lump, right? Any chance Morrison heard ‘Lump’ by Presidents of the United states of America and thought “‘Lump? In my head’, eh? That gies me an idea, neeber”?

    Probably not, but ye ken that mr. morrison, he’s never really been the coolest when it comes to music references (though ‘cool’ is such a loose term that this obviously all comes down to personal taste. I just have memories of Kula Shaker and King Mob, y’know?)

    Bots’wana Beast, I completely forgot that Mokkari also smoked in FC. I don’t know why it struck me in Batman, but not in that. Maybe because in FC, the thing he smokes makes him look decadent and dastardly, like a cackling villain, whereas the thing he smokes in Batman (and his appearance in general), is more grimy and ‘earthy’, like maybe he’s going to cut you open, go home, and have a bit of a sigh as he sits down to watch his favourite soap, work done for the day.

    I’ve thought about smoking too much.

    Must…not…smoke…

  32. David Uzumeri Says:

    Wonderful news from Mr. Johnston and those gutters he’s lying in: Morrison, Quitely, Batman #687, June 2009.

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=19176

  33. Zom Says:

    A furious email exchange has just swept through Mindless HQ.

    Only possible problem: how the fuck is that ever supposed to come out on time?

  34. David Uzumeri Says:

    Morrison said he’d be doing more one- to two-issue stories when he came back, didn’t he? I hope DC isn’t deranged enough to think that Quitely can be the regular penciller, and I’d imagine neither Morrison nor Quitely would be dumb enough to convince them of that. If he’s able to do an arc or a few issues here and there that’s great, let’s be honest here, the biggest part of this news is the (greenlit!) confirmation of Morrison’s return, and the claim that Quitely is at work, which means scripts are written.

  35. Zom Says:

    Nuh, the biggest news for this mindless monstrosity is that Morrison and Quitely will be doing some issues together. I’d sacrifice a longer run to see that, to be honest

    Not that I’m going to have to.

    Total win

  36. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    It is the win of all. I never got any of the exchanges, post my initial excited inform – I suspect amy was probably part of the mail chain therefore.

  37. Zom Says:

    (I was just talking about you and me – you got my emails, yeah?)

  38. The Satrap Says:

    The first option mentioned by David is clearly the one which the superior man would choose if buried alive and straitjacketed, between controlled intakes of breath: Quitely should do discrete, self-contained arcs without fill-ins. More “Riot at Xavier’s”, less “Imperial”.

    Hasn’t Guano said, in some interview or the other, that if he’s to continue on the title he’ll shift gears and go for shorter arcs? I hope that will be the case.

  39. Zom Says:

    As do I. The world (ie me, my solipsistic subjectivity entire) is crying out for some punchy superhero comics

  40. The Satrap Says:

    Can’t summon up the energy to comment on #682, this late in the game. However, let me troll the thread a bit and say how much I love the Mortal Kombat ads. That was missing from #681, if you ask me.

    I mean, ads in the floppies break the diegetic flow, are for the most part an eyesore and a fucking pain in the et cetera but, you know, Klose Kombat, Klassic Moves, Sweepstakes. You Kould win! Ace. Have never played the game(s), but the dude in pseudo-ninja fatigues? So busy, so nineties. So fucking great. “Think you know all the moves? You don’t.” That’s the kind of thing the Batman would say*, through a thick lip, to an overconfident KGBeast**.

    I’ve so totally slotted the ninja dude into Bruce’s garbled memories. He’s canonical.

    *: my Batman is somewhat garrulous. Dunno, maybe I’m projecting. Say what you want, sometimes “Hh” is not enough.

    **: I’ve been thinking, long and hard, about the idea that Le Bossu can be “the immigrant” among the Bat-rogues. To be strict, he wouldn’t be the first who could fit that particular bill. There was that Chuck Dixon creation, the KGBeast, the Japanese dude and dudette featured in that arc by Azzarello and Risso that came hot on the heels of “Hush”***, and a couple more, I’m sure. Since those are all a bit rubbish, I think Le Bossu is our man.

    ***: You know, “Broken City”. The dude and dudette managed to give us three Japanese clichés (Yakuza, Sumo and ninjas) for the price of one, which could have even been great if the thing hadn’t been such a fucking, po-faced dirge. It’s also the arc where Killa Croc is re-imagined as a muthafuckin’ pee-eye-em-pee. Now, our mate Gonococcus often gets some well-deserved flak for his self-plagiarising artistry, but Azzarello’s one-trick-poniness is in a class of its own.

  41. The Satrap Says:

    X-post with Zom. Had to split the mammoth bullshit post in two, for readability’s sakes.

  42. David Uzumeri Says:

    Not going to lie to you, having Mortal Kombat ads in the middle of a Batman comic brought me back to my childhood.

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