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New Escapist Column! On “Moon Knight” and the Limits of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Moon Knight, which is streaming weekly on Disney+. The penultimate episode of the show released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

As Moon Knight enters its end game, the show demonstrates the limits of the ambition and experimentation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, boiling an interesting and compelling premise down to a fairly simplistic and straightforward illustration of cause and effect. There’s something rather depressing in the show’s commitment to easy answers to its central character, and it is all the more frustrating because this is a major release from a company that holds such an important and influential place in the popular consciousness. There’s no excuse for this lack of ambition.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on a Serious Earth

Batman’s not afraid of anything.

It’s me. I’m afraid.

I’m afraid that the Joker might be right about me. Sometimes… I question the rationality of my actions. I’m afraid that when I walk through those asylum gates… When I walk into Arkham and the doors close behind me…

It’ll be just like coming home.

– Batman explains his unease at going into Arkham Asylum to Jim Gordon

I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised to hear recently that Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum is a somewhat “divisive” book. It is, one hand, highly critically praised and the best-selling graphic-novel of all time, yet Morrison scholars are quick to describe it as “much maligned”. I’ll admit that I took my time getting around to reading it – partially due to the fact that DC refused to keep the hardcover in print – but I eventually buckled and got myself the softcover 15th Anniversary Edition. What I found was one of the most densely challenging, cleverly constructed and brilliantly gothic depictions of the Dark Knight I have ever encountered (indeed, it might even be “simply the most” rather than a safer “one of the most”). It’s beautiful, it’s dark and it’s tough – but it’s also immensely rewarding. Come with me into the Asylum.

Batman comes home…

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