Sunday, October 16, 2005

Chris' Reviews 10/12, Pt. 1


Hey Howdy and a Great Day in the Morning to everyone! The chaos of getting kicked out of my house is only getting worse, but the comics are getting better! Which is both sad and uplifting at the same time. Anyway, as always, Massive Spoilers Ahead!

ARKHAM ASYLUM 15th ANNIVERSARY EDITION

So, this is a nice bit of weirdness from Grant Morrison that I bought specifically for the script additions and annotations. For those of you who haven't ever read this, here's the story in a nutshell: Arkham Asylum has a riot, Batman is called in to quell said riot, Batman goes through about 50 pages of identifying with the inmates because he's insane too, Batman wins.

Not very compelling, is it?

You could not be more wrong. The art by Dave McKean is indistinct, creepy, and surreal, while the plot and themes by Morrison are just different enough to keep you wondering what might happen next.

Apparently, and I didn't know this until recently, this OGN is reviled by many Batman fans. I have no idea why. Yes, this is a vulnerable Batman. Yes, he's out of character as far as the past 15 years go. Yes, there's no "money" scene like you would expect out of something like this.

Still.

This book wowed me 15 years ago, and it wows me now. It's a taut, deeply psychological and symbolic look at the Batman and the Joker (and several others) that makes just enough sense to pass, while being loopy enough to stash away in that "It's OK to like it because it has nothing whatsoever to do with continuity" part of your brain.

Did I mention the script, drawings, and annotations by Grant Morrison? See, if you or I had sent in a pitch to DC, "I want to write a Batman story about madness, transvestitism, sex, fate, and death", we'd be locked up, or working in a 7-11, or both. Morrison? "Yeah, sure, sounds great!"

I read a lot of Grant Morrison, I like how weird he is, but DAMN. Just reading the annotations to the script make me wonder if dude shouldn't be locked up.

Best Moment: "I thought Joker should be wearing the Madonna outfit from the 'Open Your Heart' video. I was overruled." -- Grant Morrison, paraphrased here.

Worst Moment: McKean's art is delightfully surreal at best, frustratingly indecipherable at worst. Not once do we get a full on shot of Batman doing anything Batman-y.

Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. Admittedly, I'm a Morrison/Batman fan, but this book STILL creeps me out, and the script + annotations are priceless, especially since you get the whole shebang for less than 20 bucks. Love it.


HAWKMAN #45

Charley Parker and Carter Hall do battle. Charley explains that he's the son of Fel Andar, who

[WE NOW INTERRUPT THIS BLOG ENTRY FOR A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. INSERT 30-ODD YEARS OF CONVOLUTED HAWKMAN/THANAGARIAN HISTORY HERE. UNDERSTAND THAT DESPITE GEOFF JOHNS' BEST EFFORTS, NO ONE WILL EVER TRULY UNDERSTAND HAWKMAN, HAWKGIRL, HAWKWOMAN, CARTER HALL, KATAR HOL, KENDRA SAUNDERS, SHAYERA HOL, SHIERA THAL, FEL ANDAR, OR THAT ONE DUDE WHO LOOKS LIKE HAWKMAN BUT WITH MORE HAIR, OR THEIR HISTORY. WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED BLOG.]

and then Hawkman meets up, apologizes to Hawkgirl, and they share a nice dinner and romance blossoms.

Best Moment: Hawkman kicks the living shit out of Charley, then sends him on a one-way trip to Thanagar.

Worst Moment: I'm still dizzy from all the retconning in this issue.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Mostly one big cathartic action scene, a nice wrap-up to this last arc that's put Carter through hell, and a sweetly romantic epilogue that hits all the right notes. Well done, though I won't even try and explain it to anyone. Don't pick this up if you aren't a regular reader, although the next issue should be a great jumping on point.

That's it for now: coming soon, House of M, Infinite Crisis, Showcase:Green Lantern, and Villains United!

4 Comments:

Blogger kelvingreen said...

Frankly, I don't think they should bother trying to fix Hawkman. He's far too broken to fix now, and they make it worse every time they try.

Instead, they should just include each and every single continuity fubar and play the whole thing up, just revel in the cock-upedness of it all. They're all Hawkman, and they're all the real, one and only, Hawkman. All at the same time! The writer perfect for that? Grant Morrison, of course.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

KelvinGreen is now batting .1000 in terms of brilliant ideas.

I bow to thee.

6:54 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

I thankyeew sir!

It worked for Kang, so let's have a Council Of Cross-Continuity Hawkmen!

11:03 AM  
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