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07/03/2003: Batman #616 and Gotham Knights #42

I planned to write down my comments on those two issues as soon as I read them on Friday, but as so often inertia got in the way. Oddly I'm most motivated to do more fandom stuff when an important deadline for some non-fandom stuff looms, my best guess is, that normally I have no problem to whittle my days away in a sloth-like manner doing almost nothing (well, reading and watching tv and eating, instead of hanging upside down from a tree limb and eating, but it's the same general idea), whereas when I'm procrastinating doing something really important, I need the feeling to be at least sort of "productive" accomplishing something else instead. Anyway,...

Batman #616

Some people who have more experience with the DCU than me believe that things aren't what they appear to be, and I'm clinging to that hope, that it will at least make some semblance of sense eventually, even if continuity was put aside.

But while reading it my main thought was that the Gotham City justice system has to be on some serious psychotropic drugs, that there is no other way the events are explicable. I mean, their total insanity started with the previous issue, and I ranted then, but really, not only let they go the Joker, because he didn't kill Tommy Elliot (right, because he isn't wanted for any other crimes), no they also not only failed to arrest Two-Face, they gave him back his license. I mean, wtf?!? Even if you disregard any continuity concern, I really don't think Harvey Dent could go to the authorities and say "Hey, I got a cosmetic operation, and btw, I'm sane now, I'm not a psychotic killer anymore, so could I have my legal license back and go practice law instead of being locked up for multiple murders?" I mean really. I hope there'll be some twist, and that I'll be happy with it eventually, and looking back, shaking my head at my lack of faith in Loeb's storytelling, but until then --- I'm sceptical.

That said, I still like a lot about this issue. I've said it before when talking about Hush, but I dig Lee/William's art. I liked a lot of details. For example how Batman's POV is handled, especially the effect of looking at things through his eyes and the cowl's gadgets, or in the opening sequence of #616, the dialog between Batman and Oracle when he boards that plane, I like the Batman/Catwoman romance, and that Bruce finally confided in her, and I like that Ra's is in it (I like Ra's as a villain, though I haven't fully understood his character yet, and I haven't read many stories with him so far).

Gotham Knights #42

Overall I liked the story -- for those who haven't read it, the basic plot is that the reason for Alfred's collapse in #40 is a mutated form of the Clench virus he contracted, presumably from the bats while cleaning the cave, and we see how the complete Bat-Family and friends deal with this and work on finding a cure, eventually provided in form of an experimental drug stolen from LuthorCorp.

I didn't dislike the art as much as in #41, but the issue would have profited significantly if David Ross (the penciller) were better at drawing faces. For example, in the scene for Day 13, when the Social Services person appears for a renewed inquiry of Jason Todd's death and potential abuse of Bruce's wards, Bruce opens the door, and I guess it's Cassandra (who is also at the manor while Alfred is ill) who provides him the usual cover of a scantily clad female companion, and that he doesn't have someone over, but I can't tell for certain.

I haven't read Contagion yet, so some of the references were lots on me. That is also why I'm not sure whether it's the fault of my lack of knowledge or of the story that I was a bit confused with the ending. Probably the former. The thing is, I followed the story of Alfred's illness, how they fight it, and his eventual recovery well enough until the last page, when the creature with the S.T.A.R. Labs label on its clothing appeared to be hidden in the Batcave. It probably would make sense if I knew more about Contagion and the origins of that plague Batman was fighting in that storyline. As it is, I have no idea what kind of life-form this creature was, whether it was really the creature and not the bats after all who carried the mutated Clench Virus, or what S.T.A.R. Labs role in all of this is.

Posted by RatC @ 12:02 AM CET
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