June 13th, 2010
A quick preambulatory moan:
Oh the art, the art was as ever a big problem. I’ll let the lovely chaps over at Comics Alliance fill you in on the specifics, all you really need to know is that the central aspects of the issue’s locked room mystery – when the Prof was killed and who did the killing – were obscured by an art error that should have been spotted by the editorial team, or, you know, someone. It’s just not okay that something like that was allowed to slip through, and it makes me wonder exactly what sort of relationship Morrison has with the editorial staff, let alone his artists. Maybe they were just in a big rush, although it’s hard to imagine why given the lead in to this issue.
That aside, I enjoyed 700 in a bitty way, but wasn’t too keen on the book as a whole. The segmented structure helped to legitimise the former response in my mind however, and consequently I feel no shame in taking the annocomment approach. Seems appropriate.
May 17th, 2010
It’s only just occurred to me that we’ve been gipped. I went in expecting a three issue contest of wits and fists between Dark Damien and the Cartwheeling Crusader and what I got was a lot of stuff in caves, and secret passages and wotnot.
Of course the reason why I’m not complaining is because the whole thing turned out great anyway, with the last issue a serious contender for best issue of the run so far, at least as far as exciting plot beats are concerned. A doubly impressive feat when you consider that Morrison pulled it off without the pencil-pyrotechnics of Quitely or Stewart. Not to do the art team down, their efforts certainly contributed, memorably on a couple of occasions.
But enough with the preamble and on with the awesome sauce.
April 27th, 2010
I was brought up on the comic books of the eighties, when colours were flat and negative space was in high demand, when digital meant computer games suffering from colour clash, and when today’s smooth colour gradations were the holy grail of the demo scene. On the whole I don’t want naturalism from my colouring and I definitely don’t demand some early 90s bedroom coder’s version of it. Which leads me, kinda, to my point.
Ever since mindless pal David Uzumeri compared the colouring of Batman & Robin #1 to a badly rendered GIF, I’ve been promising a response. I was troubled by David’s reaction because I thought the blotchy, banded, fuzzy colour gradations added immensely to the atmosphere of the issue, and because I believe David’s objections to only have a tenuous grip on the critical centre. It’s an understandable way of reading the colouring, but I’m of the opinion that with some prodding its dominance can at least be partially undermined and other readings more readily admitted.
September 22nd, 2009
Before the sun sets on the comics week.
Batman and Robin #4
Published by DC Comics
Story – Grant Morrison
Art – Philip Tan, Jonathan Glapion
This was always going to be a let down from where I’m sitting. Batman and Robin under the pen of Quitely was without a doubt my favourite Superhero comic of the year, and very possibly my favourite superhero comic since the last time those two collaborated. Scratch that, truth be told I preferred those three issues to All Star Superman, because not only were Morrison and Quitely producing fabulous work, they were producing fabulous work on a Batman comic, and I do so love a bit of Batman. So, yes, I always knew this was going to be a letdown and that I would have to struggle to give it a fair hearing.
July 9th, 2009
Batman & Robin #2 would appear to be the book where the uncommitted became converts, or at least became considerably more interested. People have made the usual gestures towards Quitely’s wonderful art, and highlighted the elegant conceptual economy evident in Morrison’s character work and its meta-textual dimensions. And here we get to the first object of this droplet of criticism – a slice of meta-commentary of surprising value, in that it makes a strong case for shedding our fears and anxieties about this ersatz Batman. By framing Dick’s tenure as a performance, Morrison shows us how both the characters and we, the audience, can engage with the new status quo without feeling that anyone’s toes are being trod on. The real beauty of this idea is that it brings with it the flexibility and permissiveness of adaptation and interpretation (key elements of any performance), and consequently lends the book a lightness and unboundedness (made much of by Amy in his review) that is all too rare in A-list superhero books. Put simply: a lot more can happen because this Batman isn’t Batman. Implicit to this way of approaching the comic is the understanding that theatrical performances are there, largely, to be enjoyed. Morrison is tacitly telling us to allow ourselves to sit back and have fun, to take pleasure in the unfolding of the role, to view it for what it is: entertainment.