Blogging A to Z Day 8: Gotham

#AOkay, there are a lot of comic book shows on the air right now, with more on the way! The one departing the most from its comic source material, however, is probably Gotham. This is a show about the city of Gotham before the Batman – about a young detective Jim Gordon, and his cases. So instead of being a Batman crimefighting show, it’s another police procedural – there’s a lot of those on TV right now as well! They’re trying to tap into two TV themes at once, it would seem.

I used this on another review over at Comparative Geeks.

I used this on another review over at Comparative Geeks.

The case they opened with was the most obvious: the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. With this case, we quickly get to see the corruption at the heart of Gotham city, and see the good cop Gordon at work. However, we also quickly get to see some of the show’s greatest limitations – limitations that I think will make Gotham a show that only has a few seasons in it, unless they make some big changes.

One is the obvious: with young Bruce Wayne in the show, we have placed the show in time. Batman is an adult, even if a young adult – so the show is years from having Batman on it, if it ever does. Which is okay – they seem to have purposefully made this a Batman show without Batman in it. However, they have to keep it an interesting Batman show without Batman in it, because what they don’t have is the option to bail themselves out by having Batman show up!

The other limitation becomes apparent the more of the show you watch. Increasingly, they are adding and including known Batman villains, either in their young incarnations (roughly the same age as young Bruce) or are including them more as adults at Gordon’s age. They run the risk of having included basically every Batman character except Batman within a few seasons – at which point, what do you do?

There’s a deeper problem with this, about Batman lore and some of the bigger-named Batman comics, like The Dark Knight Returns (which our kind host here on Sourcerer reviewed over on Comparative Geeks, and then I did too!). In these comics, as well as in movie representations like The Dark Knight, there is a gnawing doubt, a question – are there all of these crazy super-villains because of Batman, or is there Batman because of them? The answer in the comics tends towards Batman as the cause, like the Joker argues in The Dark Knight. However, the show Gotham is definitely setting up a city where the super villains are all there and waiting, and the city desperately needs a Batman.

A Batman who won’t be showing up to save them…

This post is by @CompGeeksDavid of the Comparative Geeks and regular Sourcerer contributor. For more A to Z geekery, check out Comparative Geeks!

Blogging A to Z Day 2: Batman

Good day, everyone! It wasn’t easy coming up with something to say on this topic today, given how much I’ve already said about Batman over the past year or so. That said, I decided to go broad, give an overview of Batman’s appeal to me personally, discuss the Batman of my heart (as we’ve spoken of our personal versions of Batman before), and open up discussion. Let’s dive right in!BatmanKungFu

Since 1939, Batman has gone through dozens, if not hundreds, of creative interpretations under hoards of comic book creative teams and film producers. Extrapolating from that, there may be as many personal views of Batman himself as there are fans of the character. My own view of the character is manifold.

In his youth, he was as Frank Miller presented him in Year One, and as he grew older he became Denny O’Neil’s adventurer of the late 60s and early 70s. As he approached middle age, he became Grant Morrison’s version of the character, and that is roughly where he stands in my mind. I prefer to imagine Batman as gruff and angry, perhaps in his early to middle 40s, still possessing the strength of his youth but tempered by experience and the harsh education of his mythic role. His later years, to me, have always been a convoluted mixture of The Dark Knight Returns and Batman Beyond. Oh, and through all of this he always speaks with Kevin Conroy’s voice.

While all of that is well and good, why do I attach myself to Batman with such fanboy enthusiasm? No, he does not have any superpowers. No, I cannot identify with his wealth or the depth of his early personal tragedies. So what is it?

I believe it is his fearlessness, his ability to direct his own fate. For someone of meager origins, those aspects of the character are enough, but everything else on top of that makes Batman effectively godlike. He is the example to strive toward, the dark and troubled soul with the means to do so actually fighting back against the night itself. How could that not stir that little bit of heroism that lives within all of us? It’s certainly worth thinking about.

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Thank you for stopping by during your A to Z Challenge perusals. I am honored that you chose to read some of my work. Please come back later in the month to hear more from me on fear and fearlessness. Be sure to strike up a conversation in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

.ed — Read more Jeremy! 

Batman image by Chip Kidd, from Death by Design, via KungFuKriticism. Characters, their likenesses, and images thereof © DC Comics or original authors.

Weekly Preview, with Arkham Knight

Video

I collect animated videos and movie trailers that use this song. This one is for Arkham Knight, which I know absolutely nothing about, but it gets the share today because Jeremy‘s back. Here’s your preview.

Tomorrow, we’ll have the second installment of “We Have the Power: A Masters of the Universe/Princess of Power Memoir” by Rose B. Fischer. This series will run every other week for the next couple of months. If you missed the introduction, you can read it here.

On Tuesday, David will have an Agent Carter recap. There are only two Agent Carter episodes left, and once he’d done with this run, you won’t see David here until April, so do tune in for the next couple of Tuesdays, and if you aren’t stopping by Comparative Geeks often why not get in the habit?

Jeremy will have a post on Wednesday about a comics publisher you might want to keep your eye on — IDW Publishing.

On Thursday, we’ll have part three of my Tolkien series, which I originally ran at Part Time Monster last year. Since that series is so long and we’ve grown so much since I started it, I am re-running it for Throwback Thursdays. New installments are published at the Monster on Mondays.

Melissa will have the next Arrow recap on Friday.

And of course, on Saturday, Luther‘s bringing the zombies.

I will also have another “What IS This?” feature for Tuesday Texture/Wordless Wednesday. This is where I post a texture photo, ask you what it is, and then after everyone’s had time to guess, I either reveal it on the thread or in the Wordless Wednesday photo.

We’ve pretty much settled into a routine now, so I may talk about the stats next Sunday instead of doing a preview.

Have a great week!

Batman: In Darkest Knight — A Review

Good day, everyone! It’s good to be back from my hiatus, and I’m hoping to keep a regular second season on my column here at Sourcerer. So, thanks for reading and please do keep coming back. This first entry is a review of a work I have touched on before–DC’s Elseworlds story Batman: In Darkest Knight by Mike W. Barr and Jerry Bingham, in which Bruce Wayne becomes a Green Lantern instead of Hal Jordan and instead of becoming Batman.

The story begins with a moment familiar to fans of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. Young Bruce, wounded and delirious from blood loss following his first vigilante outing, is in the process of simultaneously apologizing to and demanding a life purpose from a bust of his deceased father, Thomas Wayne. In this iteration, however, the familiar giant bat that sets Bruce on his life path as Batman is vaporized by Abin Sur‘s Green Lantern ring seeking a new wielder.

At this stage, I feel I need to step back to say a few things about this work as a comic, as a Green Lantern story, and as an entry in the Batman mythos. I’m going to be completely honest with you; this is not a particularly well done story. Though the artwork also has its weaknesses, the writing, especially, feels uninspired and contrived to force the story into being more than elegantly shaping it into something worthwhile. The best example of this is in the story’s treatment of Sinestro.

As many readers know, I am a huge fan of Sinestro. I hate to see him misused. Sinestro’s role in In Darkest Knight is a hodgepodge of altered earlier Green Lantern stories, such as his expulsion from the Corps (originally the fault of Hal Jordan). This series of convenient events continues with Sinestro coming to Earth to attempt to uncover his new arch-enemy’s greatest secrets. In furtherance of this, Sinestro hunts down Joe Chill, somehow fuses minds with him through his yellow ring, and then inexplicably begins wearing a purple suit identical to that of the Joker.

The next odd narrative choice is the establishment of a Green Lantern-themed Justice League by the Corps’s Guardians of the Universe. The Guardians approach Clark Kent, Diana of Themyscira, and Barry Allen individually in order to recruit them all into a defense force for the Earth that would allow Bruce Wayne more free time to pursue his Green Lantern duties around Sector 2814. Needless to say at this point, many of the characters’ motivations and the convenient results (such as the costumes) that follow are never satisfactorily explained.

Image of Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash taken from https://sourcererblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/7d637-reign075.jpg

There are a couple of other gripes I have with the story, and those are the sudden and useless murder of Commissioner Jim Gordon by Sinestro and the Green Lantern Batman costume. Seriously, look at it up above. He looks like a lame facsimile of Space Ghost.

Complaints aside, the story does contain some redeeming qualities. Chief among these is a line following Sinestro’s attack on Bruce that ends with Alfred’s death. When asked whether or not he would step down from his duties to take an appropriate time to mourn his loss, Bruce simply replies that his entire life is an act of mourning. If through nothing else and at no other time, the creative team truly expresses their grasp of Batman’s essential narrative here.

And that’s my Season Two premiere. I hope you all enjoyed it, or at least got a chuckle out of it. As a reading recommendation to start things off, I suggest reading this comic and drawing your own conclusions. The entire story is available on comiXology for $1.99. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

For at least the first few posts of this season, I’d like to do more reviews of comics I’m currently reading. I’ll admit I’m a bit behind the industry these days because of past financial difficulties, but I am trying to get ahead in my consumption with trade paperbacks. Future reviews will likely include the first volume of Sinestro (so I can finally finish out what I started last year) and a recently reprinted Marvel classic called Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph & Torment. Look for more from me in coming weeks.

It’s good to be back! Now go out and support your local comic shops.