Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: Jim Lee
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Batman is having a fun night, breaking bones in the rain. Batgirl is having a fun night because her costume is so sparkly. Black Canary is having a fun night, talking a stream of Irish hootenanny while stealing from the evil to give to the poor. You know whoís not having a good night? Detective Gordonís wife, Sarah. Not at all. Looks pretty bleak, actually.
Comments: I still canít definitively call what Lee and Miller are achieving a collaboration, but I would hazard that Lee is actually attempting to get on board with all that manic dialogue that everyone spouts whether theyíre talking or not in this dizzy tale. What that means with the semi-normal folks is that they look crazed or over-medicated (witness the leering Barbara Gordon as she wheezes at the top of her stairs), while the bad guys and Batman look Rowdy-Roddy-Piper-Badass. For Batman, itís a Ö fresh new flavor? Formula for fun? Laughable misfire? All of the above?
At any rate Lee has gone beyond the simple pin-up girl poses of the first issue and the film noir trappings of the recent ones to achieve something almost like the simple photogenic beauty of his Hush arc. If only we didnít have to read all that dialogue, this would almost be a straightforward Batman tale. Well, Brogue Canary would be a villain, and Batgirl would be reliving her Year One story in three pages, but at least the scene of Jimmy Olsen delivering requested info and clothes to Vicki Vale (who did survive the horrible violent abuse and car wreck of the first issue after all) would almost be a typical bit of business about a sexy babe and a horny kid.
But that dialogue is EVERYWHERE, there is no escaping it. Everyone talks and/or thinks (is this what I meant when I said I missed narration and thought balloons?) at a mile a minute, narrating themselves because apparently they lack iPods with headphones. Maybe Jessica Biel had the right idea in Blade III after all.
And it is purple, thick, turgid, murky, silly film noir dialogue that tries so hard to sound tough it just sounds delusional. And it tells us dirty secrets we donít want to know. Why does Det. Gordon love someone besides his wife, and why does his daughter know? Why is his wife moping around the house drinking openly, a shaggy mess in a terrycloth robe? Why does this (or any) world need a Batman who chortles: ďHA! Eat glass, lawman!Ē as he kicks in the windshield of a police cruiser?
I have no answers for you, but I do have one more question. Why doesnít Batman want to hang out with other super-types, who could probably help him clean up Gotham much faster than he ever will?
Because the Goddamn Batman likes it this way!
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