Batman and the Monster Men by Matt Wagner (and some other people too but the copy I have is in rough shape and someone at the library covered their names with magical book tape so I can’t read them anymore)
This Batman falls pretty squarely between Death Mask and Hush as far as the level of awesomeness. Chronologically it’s set shortly after Year One and introduces the Batmobile for the first time (in this Batman story anyway) as well as builds on the relationship between Batman and Gordan who still has some pretty big concerns about helping a crazy person dressed up like a flying rodent.
The big baddie for this one, Dr. Strange showed way more intelligence and legitimate (if crazy) motivations, which is nice and kind of a staple of a good Batman villain – money is never the real goal for them. A semi-disgraced psychiatrist, his hobbies include making enormous fleshing eat monsters through genetic manipulation and talking care of his apparently Sikh henchman. And he does both reasonably well, until he gets them involved in a gang war after he is forced to borrow money from a loan shark. But he doesn’t get caught in the end, because he’s too smart for that, which I think is a step in the right direction.
The story has internal narration from four characters – Dr Strange, Norman Madison, Julie Madison and Bruce/Batman. Norman Madison is a respectable business man who also borrows from the same loan shark and is almost destroyed by the guilt and the fear that they will go after his daughter. The daughter, Julie is conveniently dating Bruce Wayne – like really dating him. He likes her. She spends most of the book trying to understand the man she’s in love with and getting frustrated that he’s always late for everything and is clearly lying about things like how he got two broken ribs and a concussion in the middle of the night. But she’s smart and apparently not evil so that makes her kind of novel for Bruce Wayne dates.
Bruce admits to Alfred that he is love with her, but at the end of the book the audience sees how Batman’s actions have already destroyed the relationship in a very indirect but devastating way. Having nothing to do with missing dinner or being preoccupied all the time. That was pretty neat.
Last movie I watched: None
Last TV episode I watched: The one where Joker infect Batman with a laughing toxin. He’s okay though, by the end.