Tag Archives: Harvey Dent

Comparative Opinions: Hush

Yesterday Holly gave her review of Batman: Hush, which is one of those comics from the canon of Batman. I’ve been working my way through various Batman comics, in a not-particularly-chronological fashion, but Holly’s only read a couple along the way. So her review was more about the comic itself, about what it was all on its own. Great review, and I’m going to try to not repeat what she wrote, and to still say something new!

As such, I’ll be looking at the story especially in comparison to another Jeph Loeb-written Batman story: The Long Halloween. On the surface, the two are very similar, so I’ll look at that. However, there are also some strong differences, so I’ll round out by looking at those. Then some final thoughts around stuff that Holly didn’t say, such as it is and as won’t be too spoilery, and thoughts on what I’ll be reading next from Batman!

For my first thoughts though, how about the art? It’s really something in this comic. As commenters have pointed out on Holly’s post, the art is by Jim Lee, and is top notch. Every once in a while the comic just stops for a nice big two-page scene, and it’s just a lot of fun to read from that perspective as well. I’ve really enjoyed Loeb’s story’s, but the art in this one stood out a lot as well, meaning it really is the whole package.

What's better than having a Batcave? Having a Batcave full of Batmobiles!

What’s better than having a Batcave? Having a Batcave full of Batmobiles!

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Batman: The Long Halloween Review

I recently finished reading Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. I was excited to read this, as Jeph Loeb is one of the main names in superhero television, working on shows like Heroes, Smallville, and Agents of SHIELD. I also heard this comic compared to The Dark Knight, so that piqued my interest.

The Long HalloweenThe Long Halloween was published over the course of a little over a year from 1996-1997, and follows the monthly, holiday-based serial killings of Gotham City mobsters. It gets Batman into his detective role, with a case that is incredibly hard to crack.

I don’t think I have too much to say about this comic, but I’ll try. More than anything, like other comics LitFlix I have read (comics with a film based on them), it is and it isn’t The Dark Knight. So many of the ideas are there, but at the same time, it is a different story. More than anything, they share one major thread: the origin story of Two Face. So read on for my review of this comic series, spoilers in tow!

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Batman, retired? Are you kidding me? Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Part 1 of 2.

I’ve wanted to write about the Clark Kent-Bruce Wayne relationship in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns since before I ever started blogging. Miller published his 1986 tale of Gotham-under-siege by criminals with no superheroes to save it  as a four-book miniseries in 1986. The trade paperback went 80s-viral in 1987.DKR  cover

There are tons of themes to pick at in The Dark Knight Returns. There’s a critique of big media. There’s criticism of the 60’s counterculture deciding that the struggle was over and settling for comfort when they should have never abandoned the streets. There is much questioning of government authority. There’s the fact that finally, after all these years, Robin gets to be played by an actual girl and grows into a perfect Robin by the end of the story. There’s the twisted Joker-Batman relationship on full display with very little ambiguity about just how co-dependent they are.

For my money, though, the relationship between Wayne and Kent is the most important theme. Early on we learn the U.S. government suppressed all the D.C. Ronald_Reagan_DarkKnightsuperheroes a decade before the story opens. The Dark Knight Returns reads like a futuristic dystopian novel, but the setting is contemporary to the late 80s. The Cold War is on and the President is clearly Ronald Reagan, even though he’s not named as such.

Wonder Woman has returned to her island, Green Lantern has left the planet, and Green Arrow has been “persuaded” to retire. Superman has become a covert agent of the United States. Batman has simply disappeared. The tension between the latter two drives the story. The Man of Steel has allowed himself to be reduced to the role of supersolider, though not without reason. The Dark Knight is past 60 and forced to come out of retirement by his implacable, idiosyncratic code of justice.

Miller’s tale emphasizes the worst excesses of late 20th Century American society: Violence for the sake of violence, a famous psychiatrist pronouncing two of Batman’s worst nemeses cured and releasing them to kill again, the cynical news media sensationalizing it and allowing the doctor to frame the criminals as victims, do-nothing politicians pronouncing all this – the disorder – someone else’s responsibility.

It is these excesses that awaken the Bat and impel Bruce Wayne back into action. The idea that Batman is the real person and Wayne is the disguise is very clear in this text. I don’t know that Miller originated the idea, but he certainly popularized it. Pretty much every depiction of Batman in movies since this book was published owes some debt to Miller’s concept of the character and to his dark vision of Gotham City. Continue reading