Batman and Robin #8

February 15th, 2010

Let’s annocommentate!

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PAGE 1

PANEL 1

Amy: ‘What is it with these Crime Coven people and their obsession with stories for kids?’ What is it indeed? Perhaps it has something to do with the rogue logic of fairytales and nursery rhymes, their criminal physics? Alice in Wonderland as topology, a map of a world overturned, where reason and meaning begin their steady descent into the abyss, Cole’s ‘hole in everything’.

Fairytales also speak to our primal condition, a preverbal world of gods and nightmares. Maybe the Crime Covens see their work as an attempt to return mankind to a purer state, unrestrained by ego and superego, culture, law and society.

Shit, they sound pretty cool, don’t they?

Oh, whose side are we all on?

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Zom: Fairytales more often than not are instructive lessons in morality and manners and as such speak to the centrality of such structures. But they also bring to mind – through their content and subject matter and the understanding that they are designed to speak to a pre-moral entity (a child) – a world which isn’t beholden to such things. Helps that they are also the sites of raw, unadulterated terror and danger, so yeah that’s a nice reading, Poodle.

PAGE 2

PANEL 1

Amy: It seems King Coal is taking the name of his city, Newcastle, literally. Given that Newcastle was, during the middle ages, England’s northern fortress, it perhaps has a better claim to capital city status – the site of a new castle - than anywhere else in the north. I think we mentioned the north/south divide in our last annocommentations and Coal’s goal, although aligning neatly with his religion’s, also maps neatly across this conflict.

It’s also worth noting that ’pit’ is another word for mine, and obviously takes on a sinister symbolic dimension here. Afterall, it may also refer to Hell.

Zom: Coal and pearls. Black and white like the tokens of any number of games.

Love Coal’s Northern boss/bastard look. Red hair, lamb-chop sideburns, jowls and a beer belly, basted in a suit, shirt and tie combo forgotten to good taste. The coat and crown feel like the fancy dress costume of upstart new money rather than the regalia of genuine royalty. In fact looking closer the coat reveals itself to be a leather sheepskin jacket straight out of the seventies. This chap is the stereotypical northern industrialist and as such drags with him all those associated connotations: rough, tough, no nonsense, straight talking, with absolutely no time for soft Southern shites and political correctness. Add to that his chimney sweep henchmen and a scheme that involves a collapsing mineshaft and you have a guy whose evil aura is augmented by all those nightmare tales of 19th Century health and safety culture. Going further, the faceless sweeps, the very fact that they are expendable henchmen, paint a picture of a man who actively does not care about the humanity of his workforce.

Coal is the walking embodiment of the reasons for the trade union movement. Sean Bean in Red Riding anyone?

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Amy: Another thing: Coal is a Geordie, and, sorry Geordie people, most of us in the UK would agree that Geordie speech is the closest the world’s going to get to a comedy accent. All his “wor lass’s” and his “why ayes” make Coal a figure of fun as much as anything else, and it’s an explicitly anglocentric joke, but one Morrison subverts. Zom and I were talking about this, the closeness between comedy and horror in Grant’s comics – the way they often share a panel or a character – and the exciting tension between the two, the way one frames and accentuates the other. Cole’s mode of speech is essentially silly, and therefore harmless, but the content of what he’s saying by the time we get to that stuff about gaping existential holes in everything certainly isn’t. It’s reality as described by a manic depressive or a psychopath, and actually quite chilling. There are other examples across this story arc too – most notably the Bob the Builderesque Metalek who transforms with a flick of the imagination into the soulless, insectoidal Other. 

I’m beginning to think Cameron Stewart is the perfect artist to articulate this kind of thing because his cutesy cartoonish style sets of the horror so effectively, something I think artists with a more ‘realistic’ style generally fail at.

On a side note, it’s also telling to note that most of the industry’s better writers, Millar, Bendis, Moore and Morrison, are all perfectly comfortable with comedy as a feature of their work. It’s a sign of maturity I think, and ability. I like my comics to be multi-faceted, I like a writer who’s unafraid of sending their subject matter up. Irreverence and a lack of pofacedness are a good thing.

Johns.

Zom: Down, Poodle! Leave the poor man alone.

Hmmm… Coal, for all his supervillainy, could easily be reimagined as one of the League of Gentlemen‘s grotesques. LoG being a hugely successful TV show that was built from the bottom up around the longstanding British fixation with the uncomfortable connection between comedy and horror. It could well be that Royston Vasey (the home of the League) was in Morrison’s mind when he conceived of Coal, but regardless of whether it was intended it’s a nice resonance.

PANEL 3

Amy: I’m enjoying the way this bastard freezing british winter’s reflected in Grant’s comic. Inspite of all the silly caricatures and the bat-holiday vibe, it makes me feel this story’s for us.

I’m also liking the contrast between the glowing, wombish subterranea and the icy exterior scenes. You want to dry your mitts over that Lazarus Pit, so you do. I truly believe these scenes possess more gravity, that they are doubly involving and atmospheric because I crave warmth.

PANEL 4

Amy: I have no idea how a neutrino-com would work, but a quick wiki throws up the fact that neutrinos can pass through physical matter undisturbed, so all that rock above Kate wouldn’t be much of a problem.

The DC US military come packing some hardcore kit, don’t they?

PAGE 3

Amy: I’m wondering if that this story’s set in the UK actually serves to leaven the blow of the bat-supernaturalism somewhat. Batman’s on holiday and the laws of physics, or grittics, are on holiday too: ‘Yeah, we’ll let that crazy Morrison get away with it here because this is London ENgerLAAANd, home of history and Loch Ness monsters. This shit probably goes on all the time over there…

Zom: He’s undoubtedly playing upon certain sorts of expectations: comics set in Britain have long been the home of magic and such-like, and then there are all those popular myths – like Arthur, like the Loch Ness Monster – that can’t help but serve as touchstones for those living outside the UK. For better or worse that’s just how it is.

Amy: When I first heard Grant was on the book  I assumed it would be sci-fi closet a go go right from the getgo. I have to say I think I prefer the tack he’s taken, the SUPER-supernatural elements having been kept to a minimum. A great deal of it is equally open to a somewhat arcane but nevertheless literal interpretation: Batman in outer space becomes Batman in an an isolation chamber; hyper-imps the last vestige of the bat-ego keeping him sane; Superbatman a fearless back up personality to be used as a weapon of last resort upon destruction of his mind; alien abductions: bad trips induced by fear-guns…. but as with Morrison’s Kathmandu experience, there’s always the sense that something else could be going on…. A proper ghost story vibe. This inclusivity really works. It’s far more elegant than what I originally had in mind, and, importantly, it incorporates every bat-tonality.

PAGE 5

PANEL 3

Amy: Last issue, while slipping on a pair of electro-dusters, Dick explained that ressurectees often exhibit temporary insanity. This issue he administers an electric current to the clone’s temples after establishing that this is the case.

Whether or not Morrison intended this to be read this way is obviously open to debate, but personally I think he did. It feels like his black sense of humour. I can hear him joking about it in an interview in my head, how Batman’s always prepared: instant-ect.

PAGE 6

Amy: I know Cameron’s a great admirer of Quitely’s facial expressions, and so am I, but I’m also an admirer of Cameron’s. The range of emotions on display, and their subtlety, is just fantastic, from the newly born anti-batman’s confusion and fear on page 4 to the confidently evil grin he fixes Dick with here. I must go through some other comics and check out how dead, or at least how one-dimensional, the characters look.

THE DARKSEID STUFF.

‘I can USE that.’

So is that what’s happening here? Is this the hand of Darkseid from beyond the grave? That’s great. If it’s evil it’s Darkseid doing. All is one in Darkseid.

PAGES 8, 9, 10 & 11

We need to see Beryl kick ass some day.

Anyway: FIGHT!

I haven’t seen many fight scenes by Stewart. My only, tiny, gripe would be that in some of the panels the batmen look a teensy bit lumpen, but other than that the eye bounces through the action effortlessly and the whole thing’s a million times more coherent and exciting than these things usually are (a thought I find somewhat depressing- why can’t more people draw fight scenes, eh?). One thing I particularly enjoy is the way the panels start to jiggle about, tussle and fracture when the action starts, and the way the shape, the trajectory of the panel, mirrors the fighting going on inside it. It really impacts the reading and makes the sequence so much more readable as well as making the page come alive. Lovely.

BUT, UH-OH, LETTERING MISTAKE!

No point pointing it out. Sort yourselves out DC editorial.

PAGE 12

Amy: Are those Coal smudges on Coal’s fur? Nice touch.

Zom and others have pointed out that the Knight and the Squire haven’t really done much so far other than add colour, and obviously the thinking goes that maybe they’d have more to do if Grant hadn’t bothered with Batwoman. But I don’t give a monkeys. I just want piles and piles of cool new superheroes and villains. Something we get in spades. Perhaps DC editorial insisted on having Batwoman appear in one of their most popular books to boost sales of her relaunch, but even if that is the case Grant’s really thrown himself into, it hasn’t he? He’s really enjoying playing with her unique batmospherics and yet again demonstrating how good  he is at balancing potentially tonally uneven elements in his books. Nothing jars. Somehow Batwoman, a gritty character if ever there was one, works perfectly here amidst the whirly-knights and pearly villains. Not only that, but she adds instant depth to Coal and the plot generally, bringing her entire mythology to bear on the piece. Good old Batwoman.

Now bugger off Jock.

Zom: Plenty of juggling goes on over in Detective too, and Williams and Rucka do a good job of it. There’s a lot of Nolan’s Dark Knight in there, but last time I checked Nolan forgot the werewolves and the Crime Bible.

PAGE 15

Amy: Does Alfred know the body’s a clone? Were they guarding it? Or does he just intuitively understand that whatever Dick’s doing with Batman’s corpse must be fucked up?

Sexy fucked up.

PAGE 16

PANEL 1

Amy: This has to be one of the best panels ever. The way that…thing won’t stop bellowing. Again, it’s simultaneously funny – Angryman (as we shall now refer to the clone henceforth) riding whirly-knight – and scary – Angryman riding whirly-knight. Good, simple expressive use of colour too: this guy’s satanic. Nuff said.

The superfast temporal ellipsis between panel 1 and panel 5, and the way that in both panels he’s facing in the same direction (is it a coincidence that in Dick’s panels he’s facing the opposite way?), really serves to underline Angryman’s single minded, devilish purposefulness. The inexorability of his arrival in Gotham.

Be afraid.

He is coming.

The line about the ravens is a nice touch. You wouldn’t get that shit anywhere else.

Zom: Boring annotation hat: an indirect reference to the superstitious belief that were the Ravens ever to leave the Tower the United Kingdom would fall.

PAGE 17

Amy: Oh man, it’s so good to see Damian again. With all the cool stuff going on I hadn’t noticed how much I was missing him, but all it took was a ‘Pennyworth.’ to remind me. When people describe Batman & Robin as a ‘team book’, part of me can’t help wondering why the pre-existing Batman title was never described in those terms, and I think I know. No, it wasn’t simply that editorial wanted the writers to showcase the titular character, it was because Tim Drake lacked personality. He was the literal equivalent of a bat-sidecar – an addendum, an adjunct, without half the integrity of Damian. Damian is a compelling story unto himself, quite apart from his father or Dick, and Tim isn’t.

Or at least that’s my theory.

That some people hate Damian so much is further evidence of this. Damian has a personality and that means you may or may not get on with him.

‘My new spine is superior in every way to the original.’

What does that even mean? Teh ROXOR.

Zom: This book is called Batman and Robin, Poodle, you yapping ponce. It was designed to showcase both characters and their relationship in a way that Batman wasn’t. What is interesting is that the team nature of Batman and Robin has been de-emphasised for so long (not only did we get primarily Batman in Batman, Robin was given his own book). My suspicion is that this was born out of a) a desire to make more money (hey, why have one book when you can have two?), and b) a feeling that Robin didn’t fit the tone of a grittier, post Dark Knight Returns Batman. I’m not sure the latter point is such an issue these days, in my opinion this is in part to do with a new found emphasis on tradition and nostalgia, in part because comics are less beholden to realism, and in part (I hope) because fans are more open to experimentation than they used to be.

PAGE 18

Amy: This isn’t much of a cliffhanger, is it? Morrison really isn’t very concerned about death in the DC universe. It’s already been explained that in a complex world of jet-apes and time travel death is the least of your worries, so let’s not go there. No, what’s interesting about this page is Kate’s plan. I imagine it has something to do with nixing the coven’s prophecy by being resurrected. After all, this can’t be the event that brings about the age of the crime beast if she survives, can it? Maybe next issue will see Damian, after getting the shit kicked out of him, somehow trounce Angryman at exactly the same time as Batwoman emerges from the Lazarus pit. That’s the way magic works in Morrison’s books – non-causal interconnectivity.

Zom: Tru dat. A point that more people need to get to grips with as it goes right to the heart of Morrison’s take on the supernatural.

PAGE 19

Amy: Fucking hell, Mrs Coal just has to be a monster.

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Zom: Yes, we still haven’t seen her, have we? She’s been deliberately kept off camera. I’m thinking she ain’t nice.

PAGEs 20, 21 & 22

Amy: On the phone the other day Zom was keen to point out that this moment is another really effective way to drum up sympathy for Damian. No matter how much you dislike him, you’d have to be pretty fucked up to enjoy the idea of a disabled boy being murdered by his psychotic father.

Zom: The words child in terrible peril spring to mind.

So are we looking at scene setting for the Batman vs Robin arc here or will that fight prove to be between Damian and Dick? It’s hard to be sure, although Damian’s comments to his mother about their plan or whatever (don’t have the last issue to hand) would seem to suggest the latter possibility.

NEXT TIME IN BATMAN AND ROBIN

Amy: Something’s occured to me. All those people who complain that Morrison’s interviews are better than his comics should just bloody well stop reading the former. I’ve stopped, and it means some things are actually a surprise.

Zom: Morrison is very, very good at surprises, really uncommonly good as long as you remember to avoid his press. Haven’t read a pre-release interview with the fella for over a year and I’m a much happier fan for it.

38 Responses to “Batman and Robin #8”

  1. Link! « Batman Is Awesome And You Know It Says:

    [...] Mindless Ones have annotations up for Batman and Robin #8. Do [...]

  2. The Beast Must Die Says:

    My favourite thing about Angry Batman wa, as you noted, his single-minded piledriver nature – out of the pit, take on 4 superheroes, steal Whirlybat, steal plane, fly to Gotham. Fucking brilliant. He’s still ultra slick and super-proficient in all ways but he’s, y’know, a cunt.

  3. bruce Says:

    In the tradition of seeing things in Quitely’s covers…
    Doesn’t it clone-Batman look like he’s got antlers?

  4. Rick Says:

    so AngryBat was basically just the Will of Darkseid + the Drive of Zurr En Arrh Bats (Batman – Bruce = ZEA)?

  5. Neon Snake Says:

    I’m hoping for hilarious japes a-plenty in the next issue. Two Batman’s running around? One good, one e-vil? Awesome.

    Slightly disappointed that it turned out to be a clone (although it was only ever going to be a clone, and we were talking about how the body might be a clone almost immediately after Final Crisis 6, but still…I was hoping not). Pleased that it got no more than a few panels – coulda been a big “See?! Do You?! Twas a CLONE! From the army Darkseid built!!” moment, and was (rightly) knocked back to a swift “Yeah, it was a clone. On with the show, please.”

    (…and, um, yeah. They weren’t Grundies. Silly idea.)

  6. amypoodle Says:

    frankly i like the idea of miner grundies. it wasn’t exactly beyond the pale.

  7. David Bombing Says:

    Are there really people who don’t like Damian? That’s insane.

  8. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Well there are probably people out there who like Daaken. It’s a crazy world.

  9. Nathan Says:

    Tim didn’t lack personality, writers just never showed him with any visible one in the main Batman title, Dixon was doing the whole USM/Invincible thing for like a decade with Tim before Bendis and Kirkman even hit it big. The guy is a genius, stated to surpass Bruce as a detective when he grows up and he had a living family which already put him aside from the Batmen in a lot of ways. But DC just kept pushing to make him a generic Robin to use in stories despite how much Dixon protested, which makes me very sad.

    While I agree Damian is a much better Robin I chalk it up to a combination of being primarily written by GRANT MORRISON, and that it’s refreshing to see a Robin actually act like an immature child despite his prowess, whereas Tim was always Bruce’s perfect partner from day one.

  10. Nathan Says:

    “Are there really people who don’t like Damian? That’s insane.”

    Agreed.

  11. Neon Snake Says:

    Tim always struck me as a bit of Mary-Sue; skinny kid, bullied at school, computer geek, plays D&D with his mates, crap with girls – but could kick the crap outta the bullies if he wanted.

    There was an issue, years back, where he got all preachy about drugs and it was all a bit…really? actually, I quite want Batman to catch Robin sneaking a cheeky fag or something, and giving him a smack round the head…

  12. Zom Says:

    Thanks for standing up for Tim, Nathan. I think that something fun could’ve been done with the character had he been given the space in the Batman book.

    Dixon might be a berk in all sorts of ways, but he does get a lot of stuff right

  13. MrGerbik Says:

    Just wanted to chip in here for Tim Drake…one of the early stories that really reinvigorated the idea of Robin for me was Dixon’s Robin II: The Joker’s Wild. Featuring a Batman-less snowed-in Gotham and a lone Tim Drake having to take on the Joker by himself (with lots of sage help from “Pennyworth” of course). Parts of it may support the allegations of Mary-Sueism to a degree, but upon re-read it held up remarkably well, and was a great opportunity for Dixon to develop Drake’s character from outwith the oppressive Bat-shroud for a moment.

  14. Gunderic Mollusk Says:

    One of the things about Tim’s utter lack of personality seems to stem from how cerebral and perceptive the character has been at least portrayed in stories. That very thing was what had me going on Red Robin for the first few issues. I was hoping to see more of Tim’s mind stabbing itself as his detachment and inability to grieve properly lead him to become more and more irrational and unstable. I had this little dream of a Guy Davis-drawn Red Robin jumping into inverted flesh cathedrals that seep liquefied generational memories of crusaders and jihadists from its parapets onto unsuspecting citygoers. Buuut we got a dull Ra’s and a young lady narrator who really, really needs some horrible gut-wrenching death or transformation to register as relevant to Tim’s story.

    This issue has left me with the image of someone driving on some inane late-night drive to the apothecary for some cough medicine or some innocuous item, to find a madman in a bat costume in a gyrocopter, his screams blending into the doppler effect of the copter, and that just about being it. What I love about the Morrisonian weirdness is how it can stand alone and possibly be ignored as slightly distressing or off-putting by those not involved, which keys into how much we miss on a daily basis.

  15. Papers Says:

    For the most part, this was a great issue. I like how slapdash the flashbacks are, just cut right into the text without much in the way of fanfare, proper collage-like.

    I still haven’t quite forgiven Morrison for not following through with his promise at the end of Part 2 of THE BLACK GLOVE. The sidekicks are super-trained little monsters, they don’t need to be rescued. I feel like we get more of the same here, where he undercuts Beryl Hutchinson’s abilities in spite of the fact that I desperately, oh so desperately, want a Knight and Squire book. She’s undercut for the sake of the lead hero, sure, and that’s old hat, but it still irks me off, especially after the Black Glove bollocks.

    Love me some Whirly-Bat. No fucking explanation needed.

  16. RetroWarbird Says:

    Ah! I immediately thought of “Red Riding” when Squire was giving her talk about the coal miners strike and Margaret Thatcher last issue. Same kind of setting … the moody north, people afraid to go out at night, ruthless industrialists are assholes. Fingers get cut off in factories. Child labor. Mister Melmoth.

    Grittics indeed. Gotham has its share of magic, after all … I won’t be surprised at all to see Morrison move toward giving a real supernatural link between England and the American East Coast as things play out. Witch-Hunter Batman with the Puritans … “Cowboy” era Batman putting superstition to good use against a Scorcese-fashioned “Gangs of New York” 1863 Gotham. (Word is Jonah Hex will be involved and it’ll have slight supernatural “High Plains Drifter” overtones).

    Tons of connections. England … New England. Loch Ness monster? Champ of New York’s Lake Champlain. And so on, and so on.

    Mrs. Coal …

    I racked my brains trying to figure a nursery rhyme she’d fit, but all I could hazard are these two guesses:

    Whisper A’Daire – Strangely missing from Rucka’s Crime Bible chapter, her old partner Abbott has moved on.

    Talia al Ghul – Hey, she was part of Libra’s “Society” … maybe she converted to Crime Bible. I can’t accept it though – can’t believe an eco-terrorist would work with a grimy coal tycoon, let alone allow him and his cronies to refer to her as his “Donna”.

    So rather, I suspect Donna will pan out to be more literal than just a slang term for a woman, perhaps akin to Belladonna (A member of the nightshade group of plants, quite toxic, also called “Naked Ladies” with a floral meaning of “dramatic” – Hey, Morrison has used floral meanings before. The black and red roses fit their floral meanings quite well.) And hell, it’s the poison MacBeth (Whilst Lieutenant of Duncan) used to poison English troops. And it’s a recreational drug.

    She could be the British “Poison Ivy”.

  17. RetroWarbird Says:

    Knew I was forgetting something …

    Morrison included … God I’m drawing a blank on the title and issue … a story in the Black Casebook collection where in a false world, Batwoman dies in Batman’s arms. She admits she loves him, he admits it, in the end he gets out of it by saying “I just told you what you wanted to hear”.

    Here we have a mirror of that. Batwoman # 2 dies in Batman # 2′s arms (she doesn’t admit her love for him, what with the fact she digs the ladies … she DOES figure out it’s that nice Nightwing fellow from Christmas).

    A little bit of history repeating.

  18. RetroWarbird Says:

    God, one last thing. (With these sorts of conversations you always remember one last thing).

    Presently in the States Old Man Winter is refusing to die a noble death in the name of spring. So while it’s serendipitous of Grant to give you Brits a bit of timely atmosphere, we’re not totally out of the loop as far as enjoying that god-awful snowed-in feeling. It’s the first winter in who knows how long where all 49 States (Minus Hawaii) have seen snow. It’s normal for us here just east of the Great Lakes to be buried for four months a year, but the rest of the country is in a panic.

  19. Nathan Says:

    “Thanks for standing up for Tim, Nathan. I think that something fun could’ve been done with the character had he been given the space in the Batman book.

    Dixon might be a berk in all sorts of ways, but he does get a lot of stuff right”

    Seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single character act so differently from his solo title than in other books, it’s amazing. Because really I meant the whole USM/Invincible comparison, yet you would never know it in Batman or Detective Comics. It’s like if Batman acted like Batman in Batman, but was a drooling idiot in Detective Comics, just plain weird.

    at least Chris Yost is slowly getting better in his characterization of Tim.

  20. Papers Says:

    The Chimney Sweeps of Doom! Makes me wonder if Mrs. Coal’s going to have a Mary Poppins bent to her, something dark with umbrellas and wind. She won’t be Britain’s Poison Ivy, darlings, she’ll be a coal-black Penguin, yeah?

    “Bugger.” Beryl! Such language!

    One presumes Batwoman’s going to get a Lazarus Pit treatment, right? Otherwise, we’ll have a dozen issues of “DameFall” and some steroid-case fighting over the black and red.

  21. RetroWarbird Says:

    “Makes me wonder of Mrs. Coal’s going to have a Mary Poppins bent to her …”

    Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … oh, bloody hell, it’s Super-Nanny!

    Now that would be terrifying. Mary Poppins shares a whole boat-load in common with the classic depiction of witches as well, replace broom with umbrella, of course. Seems perfect for the Crime Covens.

  22. Zom Says:

    I would be very surprised and not a little bored if Donna turned out to be someone we’ve met before.

  23. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Love the fact that Beryl is an English Robin, but with lashings of Minnie The Minx/Beryl the Peril about her. She’s a total archetype of a certain feisty tom-boyish English school girl rebel.

    Grant – please please PLEASE write a Knight and Squire mini. I’d shit myself inside out!

  24. Zom Says:

    Yes. I would do that too. Grant, if you want to see people shit themselves inside out you must write a Knight and Squire mini.

    Job done. There’s no way anyone could resist that offer.

  25. Neon Snake Says:

    “I would be very surprised and not a little bored if Donna turned out to be someone we’ve met before.”

    If it was someone familiar, I think it would need to be someone we’ve seen in Morrison’s work before – thus far, he hasn’t stepped outside his own work for any major reveal. Hurt wasn’t Two-Face or Penguin, or whatever, someone familiar but previously unseen – he was someone new.

    Which leaves Donna to be…who? Talia, Jezebel Jet…I can’t think of any others.

    More likely to be someone entirely new, I think – Donna Dominoes, I’m going to call her.

  26. Papers Says:

    Off the top of my head she could be a Queen of Hearts (tying the Crime Covens to a Royal Flush Gang AND Alice thing), Mary-Mary Quite Contrary (Mary, Queen of Scots, which might fit for a couple reasons…), but I can’t find any reference that would fit with Donna.

  27. Neon Snake Says:

    No, me neither. I’ve been trying to think whether it’s a slang term for woman, wife, or girlfriend, but it doesn’t ring any bells. I get “Davinas”, but I can’t work out that “Donna” means anything, so I’m going on the idea that it’s just a name, until proven wrong.

  28. Marc Says:

    On Coal’s “hole in everything”: shades of Doctor Hurt, yes? Possible connection between Hurt and the crime covens?

    As for the idea that Donna would be someone we know… I would expect that in the other “Blackest Night.” Where she would no doubt turn out to be Donna Troy, Donna Reed, or Donna Summer.

    I think Morrison’s just having fun making up ridiculously stereotypical British criminals; I doubt he’d reduce Mrs. King Coal to a cut-out.

  29. RetroWarbird Says:

    “Hole in everything”

    Perhaps the most curious thing about this current storyline for me has been the potential overlap between the Religion of Crime, League of Assassins and Black Glove.

    Talia & the League have had dealings with both groups, and never friendly (except having to play along during Final Crisis with Libra).

    She’s got bad blood with Whisper & Abbot … and Intergang … she’s got bad blood with Hurt and probably killed Jezebel Jet via ninja man-bat pinion vivisection at 10,000 feet … her father is different kind of a Demon, who taught her science (as opposed to fanatical devotion to historical anti-Christ figures).

    So now … we have Talia making moves. The Black Glove/El Penitente connections returning. Crime Bible thumpers in Newcastle. And a Lazarus Pit.

  30. Zom Says:

    Absolutely agree re Donna, Marc. That’s my take entirely.

    On the “hole in everything”, yeah, I noticed the Black Glove connection but tend to think it could just as well be a nice resonance as an actual fer real connection. As Amy said, that’s the language of a psychopath or a depressive (or a nihilist on a miserable day), and given Morrison’s penchant for erecting huge structures of meaning I suspect that he thinks that it’s a terrifying possibility, which certainly could be enough to account for the idea’s recurrence.

  31. Laika Says:

    Isn’t ‘Donna’ Mrs. Pearly King, rather than Mrs. King Coal?

  32. Marc Says:

    No, Pearly says Coal is terrified of “his bleedin’ Donna” finding out he lost the mine to Eddie in a card game.

    Yeah, Zom, it’s not lost on me that in one breath I’m making connections between characters and unifying mythologies and in the next I’m mocking Johns for doing the same thing. Except that hole in everything pulses there for both characters, and Morrison writes both, and I expect Coal and Hurt both acknowledge the same dark impulses even if they don’t share any logistical connection.

    But then again, the dominoes have turned up in London, too…

  33. amypoodle Says:

    aaargh. i’m not sure if i’ve said it here already but ‘donna’ is just slang for a woman. see guy ritchie’s ‘snatch’.

    but snatch is a shit film. and ritchie’s other snatch: BBBbrrRR!

  34. Knight and Squire Says:

    Did anyone else thing that the line about recognizing Knight’s grunting and groaning was a funny ha ha? Or am I just dirty. :(

  35. RetroWarbird Says:

    “Did anyone else thing that the line about recognizing Knight’s grunting and groaning was a funny ha ha? Or am I just dirty. :(”

    The other day I was musing and kind of applied the old “Batman & Robin: SCANDAL!” accusations to Knight and Squire. But it occurred to me that our new Knight is Cyril, mid-20′s, and Beryl is probably 18+ at this point, 16 or 17 when they met.

    Still … while I got more of a feisty nurse vibe from her comment about Cyril grunting and groaning (She did have to get him back into shape after all) I got a bit of a Niles & Daphne vibe from them as well. And a little bit of an “old married couple” vibe as well.

  36. Zom Says:

    I can’t remember the line and don’t have the issue to hand but for me it brings to mind intimacy rather than sex. Given the kind of hardships the chap has faced I imagine the Knight grunts and groans in his sleep, and I suspect Beryl would have had to put up with a fair few grunts and groans when Cyril was on the sauce.

  37. David@ Batman and Robin Costumes Says:

    I thought this was interesting maybe I missed the boat but where does the Sean Bean come into play? I am not familiar with Red Rider…

  38. glen soikie Says:

    well put together thanks for sharing

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