Monday, September 17, 2007

Batman Thinks Your Favourite Hero is a Loser

I have been given a substantial amount of money from OSAP (government student loan). Far, far more money than I should have, really. What the fuck were they thinking?

But, that means I can now buy things. Many, many, many things. Like trades. Hey, look, I bought some trades on Friday and today I will discuss the first of the bunch:

Gotham Central: Dead Robin

The fifth and final collection of the series features three stories over eight issues. The eponymous lead story begins with the body of Robin found in an alley. Oh shit, not again! What is it with Batman and not being able to keep Robins alive? This new one means that only one is still alive and he's not Robin anymore! What the fuck, Batman?

Oh, it's not Tim Drake apparently.

But, the police have no way to know and they don't exactly believe Batman when he tells them that it's not the real Robin and to fuck right off, he don't abuse no kids. Except, of course, it is hard to trust him, because we all know about that girl Robin that died a few months before this story. But, then again, the police don't know that. Oh, the dramatic irony is so thick, you can eat it with a spoon!

That's actually something that I find I enjoy more and more about shared superhero universes: we, the readers, like to see all of these characters living in harmony with one another, knowing everything we know, but they don't. Most of them haven't even met--and if they did, it was just at some big megacrossover meeting where the important people planned stuff and the losers did the grunt work and probably got hurt, because, let's face it, most of these people suck. Like I'm supposed to believe Batman gives two shits about . . . I dunno, Beast Boy or Supergirl? No, he doesn't, because he's Batman and they're losers who fight loser villains that aren't even worth Batman's attention. He only cares about them in that they deal with those loser villains so he doesn't have to. He looks at them the same way he looks at the garbageman (now, don't get me wrong, I respect people who pick up garbage--more than I respect a lot of people like lawyers--but Batman doesn't, see--he's a rich motherfucker who can't help but think those guys are scum).

What was I talking about again?

Oh yeah: Batman only has time for, like, a dozen people and he even hates all of them. Even Superman. Especially Superman.

"Dead Robin" is actually a pretty entertaining story, but the ending left me yawning. It was just so . . . mundane. Dead Robins showing up all over the city (okay, in two places) and that's it? I would have actually preferred it turning out that Batman was training dozens of teens to be his unholy Robin army and a few just, you know, died. It happens. Whatever. Move on.

Then there's a self-contained issue that ties into Infinite Crisis that is about as good as you'd expect an issue that ties into a giant crossover to be.

The final three issues deal with Jim Corrigan, the corrupt CSU officer, killing Montoya's partner and walking, setting up her story in 52. It's a really well done story and ends in a way that leaves a bad taste in your mouth--but in that good way.

One thing I should mention is how great the art is. Kano and Stefano Gaudiano handle the art for "Dead Robin" and "Corrigan II" while Steve Lieber does the Infinite Crisis issue. It's all dark and pseudo-realistic, reminding me of Sean Phillip's art (who provides the covers). It works perfectly with the tone of the series and plots, heavy emphasis on mood and storytelling. Especially impressive is the fact that with a large cast of characters, I was rarely confused over who was who. That's something that a lot of artists can't pull off, but they do here.

Tomorrow, we follow-up Montoya's story in the first volume of 52.