|This is the cover of a real Batman issue.|
You wouldn't see this in a Chris Nolan film.
While I enjoyed Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, I thought they weren't the Greatest Movies of All Time like many other nerds have deemed them. And The Dark Knight Rises was... mediocre at best. I understand Batman is a "serious" character, but at the end of the day he's still a guy in a bat costume punching bad guys. Nolan's trilogy takes itself too seriously, both in terms of tone and in terms of realism in its art direction.
Because Batman himself is such a boring character, Batman as a franchise lives and dies by its brilliant villains--by far the most iconic of any superhero series. Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight was genius, and I've got a man-crush on Cillian Murphy so of course I liked him as the Scarecrow in Batman Begins. But Bane was such a laughable cookie-cutter antagonist in The Dark Knight Returns, it baffles me that there's a large portion of the moviegoing population who believes it's an Oscar-worthy end to the trilogy.
So I was skeptical about the new Batman comic. But it's widely regarded as the best mainstream superhero comic in production today, so as a comic noob I felt like I couldn't avoid it. And I'm glad I was able to get past my prejudice. It's excellent.
|I don't read superhero comics to|
read about socialites hobnobbing
But it gets more complex as it goes on. Thematically, this series is about Bruce Wayne's relationship with Gotham City. Because he comes from old money, his family owns a huge percentage of Gotham. And as Batman patrollin' the streets, he feels like he knows the city better than anyone. He feels that Gotham is his city; it's often his only friend as he gallivants alone through the night. But as we discover in this series, perhaps Batman doesn't know Gotham City as well as he thinks he does.
I love this exploration of the superhero as the product of an urban environment. In my Spider-Man review I remarked how interesting it was that they threw Spidey into the middle of Wyoming--Spider-Man, like Batman, can only thrive in a city environment. In the middle of farmland, both Spider-Man and Batman are reduced to guys in goofy suits who can't really do anything. Miles Morales and Bruce Wayne come from opposite ends of the urban spectrum: Miles from a working-class minority family in Brooklyn, Bruce from a long line of penthouses running the city.
|From bourgeoisie to junkie in five issues' time!|
Art-wise, this is when everything gets turned upside down. Batman starts to go insane, and the artwork goes from mostly-realistic to stylized and psychotic. This is what hooked me for the long run; it's something you'd never see in a Christopher Nolan Batman movie. Once again it's the villains who bring out the best in Batman, forcing this boring, static character to question his immense sense of worth and superiority over the regular people of Gotham City.