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Since I haven't read this before, I won't bother with a spoiler section. But if someone who has read it wants one, please let me know, and I'll put one up! I mean, there will be spoilers for today's reading obviously, but since I don't even know what's coming next myself, I won't be spoiling that. :p


Yeah, I expected this to be dark, so... no real comment about that. Except that maybe I would blame this book and others like it for starting the trend for things to have to be "dark" and "gritty" and "mature" or whatever. Feh.

The introduction works well enough, basically setting the scene, and that's what it's there for so it does its job.

The first bit of the actual comic though throws me - what the hell does a race have to do with anything? I guess it's trying to get us into the current mind-set and attitude of Bruce Wayne but... really, it just confuses me. It made me think he'd become a race-car driver or something in this version of things, but no. He's still a millionaire, if not a "playboy" these days, and that was just... whatever.

It's a bit awkward for me to get into this. Some of the scenes jump around with little or no or confusing segues, the art is murkier and the colors blander than I'd like, and the writing is good, certainly, but the characters don't feel right to me. Of course they've been written by so many people in so many styles, that's not as much of a complaint, plus there's the fact that this is ten years + on from what I suppose was the "current" DC Universe at the time, so there's that.

And having the Joker attempting to assassinate Harvey Dent via proxy, using a disguised bomb, was pretty nifty. Along with the villains starting to crop up again as the Batman re-emerges. And it does raise some good thoughts about vigilantes, as to whether they're good because they stop criminals, or worse because they're unlawful themselves and just add to the chaos. I'm not really sure where I stand on vigilantes myself - I guess like so many things, it's a matter of each case being different.

"Arkham Home for the Emotionally Troubled" is a nice touch... and subtle.

I also like the crack about painting a big target on his chest - because he can't armor his head/face against gun shots. ;) And I'm assuming with the bit about "inspires the same level of loyalty from his men" that it means that although we don't see it, Dent was "helped" from the copter by his underlings? *boot*

And I'm left wondering just what he did with Harvey at the very end. I'm assuming left him for the cops, but who knows?

And I'm so glad that hairstyles didn't really go in this direction, because ye gods.

As one last note: the whole red eye bar thing, and term "mutants," makes me think of Cyclops from the X-Men each time I see them crop up. Anyone else? And I wonder if that's deliberate...


Remember, Tuesday we discuss Book Two. See you then!

Comments

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stormfeather
Oct. 7th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
Look forward to it. :)
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stormfeather
Oct. 8th, 2010 05:15 am (UTC)
Might have more to add tomorrow but...

1) Good, glad it's not just me. I know I can be nitpicky with art, and not necessarily in agreement with others on it. :p But yeah, I felt the same thing about Bruce... it didn't look like, well, Bruce.

2) I also had the Batmobile thought, which I guess we're supposed to, but I still felt that at the end, it was a bit out of place. Since when is Bruce Wayne a race-car driver?

2b) Yeah, the bit about Batman being a separate personality from Bruce Wayne (more so in this than in some other things) was another thing I'd meant to mention. The Batman persona definitely seems to have a life of its own, here, and in some disturbing ways. And with the bit about the "dark mirror" that you said... that plays into the end of the chapter, where Batman just says he sees Two-Face as a reflection.

I didn't catch the split panels bit though. (And damn, the bats in this are scary... since when are Vampire Bats around the U.S. anyhow? :p

3) Hrm, I missed it where they said Gordon was dead...?

4) Even aside from the vigilante question, I think the line of thought opens up interesting questions, like... is it justified to fight violence with violence? Or I guess to some extent it would have to be yes unless you believe in total pacifism... but to what extent? How far before the people fighting against the violent become just as bad as what they're fighting against?

Blah, then again, it's a bit too late at night to be pondering these things. To bed!
khedron
Oct. 9th, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
Also, as a nice graphic touch, on the early frames of Two Face, the panel is split. Like his personality! Ha! Geddit! Except, on page 18, when Bruce is thinking back to the first encounter in the bat cave, the same thing is done to Bruce's face, only moreso. So I'm taking from that, that Bruce is just as much a shattered personality as Harvey was.

I very much liked the split-screen on Dent in the cell, that was nice. I didn't catch it on Young Bruce in the cave -- maybe because it was four panels & not symmetric? Unsure.

In this case, Two Face is a multiple personality disorder, but then apparently Bruce can't decide who he is, either. His internal monologue on pages 12-14 is pretty clear about that, that Batman is almost a separate personality trying to get free... and even when he relaxes, he does it by racing in a car that might as well be the Batmobile.

Hmm, I don't think that's relaxing. It's a death wish. They say as much, multiple times, but he pulls himself away from the brink each time. But it's all just looking for a way to die. Being a race car driver gives him a culturally sanctioned excuse for a death wish, in a way that being a vigilante does not, but I expect to see this theme continue through the rest of the book.
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khedron
Oct. 9th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)
I found the art early on to be pretty confusing. It seemed to get better; the race and TV scenes are kind of lo-res, but as it goes forward there's more detail. Maybe that's just me. I also had a problem telling Gordon & Wayne apart early on, but that'd be easier on re-read.

Now, as for the writing, I am not the world's biggest Frank Miller fan, so maybe I am biased, but the noirish stylings are really a bit too-too, IMO. Perhaps it's because over the last 25 years, Miller has sunk into self-parody, but the over-dramatic narration has more an effect of cracking me up than invoking the intended mood.

I'm lucky here, I guess, since I've skipped Sin City, 300, or anything else. (Ooops, I did read Elektra: Assassin.) S'anyway, I expected the noir thing, and am able to take it at face value here. As long as no one says "bring me my Loch-nar!", I'll be good.
stormfeather
Oct. 9th, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
I'll agree that the washed-out colors are symbolic, but that doesn't make them any less annoying on the eyes. As for the rest of the art, I suppose it's just subjective. (OMG, someone else likes art that I don't? Woe! *clamps head to forehead, swoons with an attack of The Vapours*).

(And really, I'd say even the brighter bits are a bit drab, but that's me. :p )

But yeah, the porn stache is porny. And corny. And possibly other things ending in orny.

Re: D)... Blood in the gutter? ;)

And yeah, Frank Millery writing is Frank Millery. I think that's pretty much all that needs be said about it. ;)
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