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07/24/2003: Gotham Knights #43

I liked this one better than #42, not at least because the regular art team is back (pencils by Roger Robinson, inks by John Floyd, written by Scott Beatty). Also with #42 I was confused about some of the Contagion stuff and the sudden appearance or the STAR Labs creature at the end.

Anyway, Gotham Knights #43 reexamines a time in Batman's past where I have at least read the canon. It takes another look at the death of Jason Todd and the time before Barbara was shot by the Joker. Since it is a multi-parter, #43 is part one of Knights Passed, I'll reserve my final "judgment" until I've read all parts, but I thought the first one was very promising.

I'm still unsure whether the strange social services investigation of Bruce's care for Jason will make any sense (I mean why do they investigate now?) beyond that of a plot device, but it has possibilities. And I liked the flashback showing Barbara as Batgirl together with Jason as Robin. I think it's interesting to get another look at Robin II and maybe learn a bit more about him, and about Batman during that time. I also liked the current day scenes when Bruce talks to Jason (well, it's Jason's costume of course, but he greets it with "Hello Jason" so who knows what he sees).

Also it seems like the story will connect the Joker shooting Barbara to this somehow, at least if there is going to be a follow-through for the (foreboding) conversation between Batman and Batgirl about the Joker, when Batman isn't in a particular hurry to catch the Joker and seriously misjudges the situations, as the reader already knows of course:

"He can wait."
"Until when?"
"I know him well enough by now to realize that he won't surface until he can strike out at me."
"Then you're underestimating him."
"He doesn't have to attack you directly to hurt you."
"Of course he does--that's how it works with us."

I'm curious how exactly this is going to work out, i.e. the attempt to turn the Joker's actions around that time into a coherent narrative in a single story, because, okay, in A Death in the Family, the Jokers actions in The Killing Joke are mentioned, and Barbara appears in a wheelchair at Jason's funeral, but for example the Joker's characterization and his motives aren't all that compatible in the two stories. Of course I think that the Joker bits in A Death in the Family are among the stupidest Batman stories I've ever read, what with the Joker representing Iran at the UN and the Chomeini appearance (as I have said here before), so I think any retelling illuminating other aspects can make things only better.

For example, since both the flashback scenes as well as the current day parts also dealt with the relationship between Bruce and Barbara, I really hope we'll get to see how they both deal with the aftermath of The Killing Joke. The only other story I've read where we see glimpses of this was Oracle Year One, but that was only a short story. And in general I like stories where Bruce and Barbara get some more lines/scenes together than just Batman asking Oracle to look stuff up, for example I liked Gotham Knights #6 quite a lot. It wouldn't hurt to get an explanation of why Dick wasn't at Jason's funeral, either.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next part of Knights Passed.

Posted by RatC @ 11:22 PM CET
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