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Oof, where to start?

Overall, I'm torn on this chapter.

On the one hand, the ending's fairly cool, getting the happy ending all around, more or less (at least on a personal level for the characters we "know"... except for poor Alfred!), which I didn't expect from Miller. And it has the kinda neat twist ending, and we get some at least vaguely interesting thoughts from Superman about being Earth's adopted son, and the thoughts on even the deserts being precious and full of interesting life.

On the other hand though, I've given up actually seeing this as Batman, when he's pretty much mowing through cops with no real thought to their safety, mowing through Clark without a thought, being stupid enough to trust the Green Arrow not to take a shot at authority when he gets a chance, etc. etc....

I'm also disappointed we didn't get any real resolution with the new Commissioner. I mean, she was one of the more interesting and complex characters (and situation), and then she pretty much just gets dropped like a hot potato? WTF?

And instead of resolution with various characters, we spend all the time on... shoot-em-ups, and fist fights, and he-man chest beating and explosions and... augh. Just... augh.

And I was hoping to see him go AFTER the Sons of the Bat, rather than just making use of them for his little army, not to mention the mutant army that just killed two police officers, with no mention even made of that. *holds head in hands*

I'm also not sold on the miraculous pill that lets Bruce seem to be dead for days (and wtf, no embalming or anything?), and then just pop out of the grave again. Especially when he was already in rough shape to start with. I don't care HOW good with chemicals he is.

Plus I've figured out yet another thing that bothers me with his straw-men, as-bad-as-can-be characters showing "humanity"... the fact that they'll just natter on about this on national television. I mean, even if you're going to assume that there ARE selfish bastards out there that would do and think some of the things these people do (which I'm sure there are), are they going to then cluelessly yatter on about it in front of the cameras, without even realizing that they might be painting themselves in a bad light? *seriously*?

So yeah, I think looking back I'm left with more of a bad taste with this final chapter, but there are at least some gleams through the darkness.

What about the rest of you?

Comments

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skwidly
Oct. 19th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to remember...is this the book where Supes goes down in the Amazon and then sucks all the life energy out of the jungle around him to revive himself?

If it is, then does that creep the fuck out of everybody the same way it does me?
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skwidly
Oct. 19th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
The implication that Superman is just an extended solar eclipse away from being a motherfucking vampire is what got to me.
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stormfeather
Oct. 19th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
No shit, by that token, well, we get our energy from food, so if we put our hands in some cooked oatmeal, we should be Golden for the day.

I mean, wtf?
theweaselking
Nov. 12th, 2010 02:11 am (UTC)
All of Superman's powers are introduced on the spot, with no preamble. That's how you can tell it's a SUPERMAN comic. See also: "Rebuilding The Great Wall Of China-vision".

(Why yes, I AM a little late to this party.)
khedron
Oct. 20th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, is *that* what was happening in that scene? I saw the flesh growing back on him, and squiggly lines in the atmosphere, but I really wasn't sure what was going on. I should have read more into "you give me your beautiful jungle", but it was pretty late at night.

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khedron
Oct. 20th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
And even then, it is not clear to me why, in the aftermath of such a catastrophic event, Superman has to fight Batman? Aren't there bigger fish to fry in a world where The Bomb has been Dropped?!

Well, sure, Batman and his adoptive army were keeping Gotham safe. But they were totally doing it in a non-approved manner. And so instead of having Superman doing something useful about the rest of the world -- no, I don't get it either. I'd think that in a comic about Superman, he'd be able to do something about nuclear winter. (Or, as prince_corwin said, do a much better job of disabling the nuke.) Here, he's not the title character, and he appears to be at the mercy of the script.

I always thought of Superman as someone who goes by the spirit and not the letter of the law. In this incarnation, it ends and he knows that Batman survived, but doesn't do anything about it. So that's yet another difference in portrayal.

Tangentially: Does the Superman/Batman antagonism I've seen elsewhere come from this, or does it go further back? I can't find an example right now, but I remember seeing some videos on the web (like this one) which made their relationship seem pretty frosty.
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khedron
Oct. 21st, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
And when I say trust implicitly, I mean that it is canon that Superman gave Batman a piece of green kryptonite made into a ring, "just in case." It's actually rather endearing, that they'll have serious arguments but still remain close friends. (There is a current monthly series that is essentially Superman/Batman, often narrated by both in alternating commentary. The difference in mindset becomes apparent.)

Wow. Okay, thanks. I'd seen things with a different flavor, but either they're playing off TDKR, or they're in their own world.

(Surprisingly, a search for "superman batman slash 'kryptonite ring'" returns very few results, but one of the Smallville pages says that in the comics, Batman keeps the ring on his utility belt at all times, in a lead-lined case.)
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khedron
Oct. 22nd, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
So eventually, when all that settled down, they got around to asking the serious question of exactly why he had plans to neutralize all his fellow heroes....

"What, doesn't everyone? You don't?! Do you even know what a contingency plan is? Man, are you naive."
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theweaselking
Nov. 12th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
It's an editorial thing. By explicit editorial fiat, Batman Wins All Conflicts Given Any Preparation Time Because Batman.

One of the amusing side effects of this is that The Joker, since he threatens Batman, is officially also a threat to people who could capture him with a thought if there was not an Editorial Command that Batman Can Beat Anyone, and thus that A Threat To Batman Is A Threat To Anyone.

(Yes, yes, late to the party.)
stormfeather
Oct. 19th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
I'd just like to add that with a discussion of the chapter that was more negative than not, I didn't expect to be the Miller Cheerleader here!
khedron
Oct. 20th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
I was a bit behind on my reading, so I didn't comment on chapters 2-3. But it's funny, I thought you guys were being a bit harsh on the gritty, noir-esque tone of things, right up to the end of chapter 2. Then I got the "This isn't a mudhole, it's an operating table. And I'm the surgeon." Oh, my, god. That wasn't supposed to be funny, was it.


Art: I still don't like the art, except for brief moments like the scene with Batman & Robin in the sky and Gotham's towers below them. That was very nice. But in general, I find it takes more work than usual to understand what's going on in the picture, and even then, I miss things (like Superman absorbing the jungle to regenerate himself). Unclear art is not a feature.

New commissioner: I thought she was coming around to the viewpoint of, "Eh, maybe a bit of vigilante-ism is OK since Gotham is the only city apparently not plunged into chaos." But I could be wrong.

Using the mutants to maintain order in Gotham from horseback: No, I didn't see that coming, even if the horses were on the wall a few scenes earlier. I also expected him to take the and the "Sons of the Bat" down. Seems very surprising to have the clearly unreliable pundits saying, "Why isn't he responsible for these thugs", and suddenly he goes and takes responsibility for the thugs. Disowning them seemed much more appropriate.

Poor Alfred. It's not at all clear why he had to die when it turns out no one else did.

Thank you for making the Green Arrow thing clear. I hadn't gotten around to looking up who Oliver was. Hal and the rest of the references, I knew.

Is this one of those situations where we have to look back to reviews of the time to say "Why was this influential and important", because reading it now, it just seems off-kilter, trite, or silly? In other words, is this the "Stranger in a Strange Land" of comics?
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