Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder, Jock and Francesco Francaville
Well, that was just awesome.
So this one is up there with Hush as one of the most awesome Batman books I’ve read so far. It was just … awesome. Did I mention awesome?
Hang on, I’m in a library. I need to grab a thesaurus.
Done and done.
Describing Black Mirror take two:
Well, that was just wondrous.
So this one is up there with Hush as one of the most stupefying Batman books I’ve read so far. It was just … mind-blowing. Did I mention awesome?
Considering how randomly I’ve been reading these, I’m pretty impressed with myself for accidentally getting them in reasonably chronological order. Black Mirror takes places after Bruce comes back from being missing, presumed dead but instead of slipping back into the ever fashionable Dark Knight costume he decides to incorporate Batman. Like Batman Inc. While he’s working on this problem he leaves Dick, Barbara, Tim and Jim to keep Gotham in one piece. More or less anyway.
Dick is still the Batman.
Things are going okay as he works on another confusing, challenging case involve some more fear toxin (man, they’ve seriously got to just inoculate the whole city against that stuff) with Oracle and Red Robin backing him up but things get way, way more complicated when Jim Gordan’s psychopathic son comes into town.
Now the (checking thesaurus) impressive things about this book are 1 )the relationships, 2) the way they handle James Gordan Jr and 3) Dick’s struggles with being Batman.
Also, the Joker was extra fabulous.
It is a pretty intense story, but the way it gets told really highlights the characters’ and their feelings for each other. Barbara and Dick feel like, even though they’re not in love anymore, they still love each other. Tim and Dick banter like the brothers they kind of are. The Gordans and the Waynes, they kind of tiptoe around the big issue neither of them can outright admit to but they know always that everyone is on the same page. Dick’s feelings for Bruce are genuine – love and respect for his father but also frustration that he’s being put in the position. Barbara and Jim both struggle when James comes back, to understand how or why someone they love could have turned out this way. The character’s feelings for each other are intense, and a driving force in the story. Possibly the driving force.
I was also impressed with the way they handled James’ psychopathy. I mean, I don’t know that much about it, other than no one can agree exactly what makes a psychopath and I’m not really that aware of trends in mental illness either but I do know that often the media trivializes or exaggerates them to the point of ridiculousness or fear mongering. There’s a lot of talk about how the Joker’s a psychopath and that’s why he never goes to real jail and why no one can kill him for all the horrific things he doesn’t because it’s not really his fault but at the same time… that’s not a very complex depiction of an incredibly complex issue. Also, he’s a clown.
But with James there’s a lot more discussion about his life and his choices. He does try to get treatment, he uses medication to manage his condition and it even works. But then he decides he likes himself more without it. Which is maybe scarier than the Joker in some ways.
Dick is pretty wonderful in this comic too – he’s not Bruce and no one really believes that he’s the Batman but he’s trying so hard to be everything Bruce was. It’s really kind hard not to love him (and forget all those annoying “old chum” green ankle boot wearing moments where he was being taken hostage).
Also, I kind of loved him before I read this.
The last thing I thought was above average neat about this book was the way Gotham itself was characterized. As a thing with a personality not unlike James Gordan’s. And that was creepy. Also wonderful.
No new movies to report on
Last TV episode I watched: Justice League Unlimited. They got to the future and meet Terry. There are 3 BATMANS. How crazy is that?