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Grant Morrison’s Run on Batman – Time & The Batman (Review)

December is “Grant Morrison month” here at the m0vie blog, as we take the month to consider and reflect on one of the most critically acclaimed (and polarising) authors working in the medium. Every Wednesday this month, we’ll have a Grant Morrison related review or retrospective.

I have, I’m not entirely ashamed to admit, grown quite fond of Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. Despite the fact I’m still not overly fond of Batman R.I.P., I really appreciated The Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman & Robin was perhaps the most fun I’ve had reading comics in quite a long time. So I found myself somewhat underwhelmed by Time and the Batman, collecting Morrison’s work on Batman #700 and the two-issue follow-up that served to make explicit the ties between Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis. It’s not that the book isn’t packed with ideas or even that it’s quite short. I think it’s more that Morrison seems to spend a lot of time here providing exposition and filling in information that perhaps couldn’t fit elsewhere in this tapestry.

Joker puts the gang back together…

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Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne (Review)

March is Superman month here at the m0vie blog, what with the release of the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison’s superb All-Star Superman. We’ll be reviewing a Superman-related book/story arc every Wednesday this month, so check on back – and we might have a surprise or two along the way. In honour of the Scottish scribe, I thought I’d review the latest chapter in his on-going Batman epic.

It’s a testament to writer Grant Morrison how much I enjoyed his weird and fantastical six-chapter “Batman lost in time” adventure epic. Between this and his superb run on Batman & Robin, Morrison might have redeemed himself for the mess that was Batman R.I.P. That said, the collection isn’t for everyone, but it marks a rich exploration of the evolution of the Batman archetype through his various iterations – a meta-textual look at the elements which make Batman who he is, and why those elements are important to him. It also, of course, features Batman in a sword fight with Cthulhu.

You know you’re reading Grant Morrison’s Batman when something like this happens…

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The Crisis Surrounding “Crisis Crossovers”

We’re a bit late to the party, but this week we’ll be celebrating the 75th anniversary of DC Comics, with a look at the medium, the company and the characters in a selection of bonus features running Monday through Friday. This is one of those articles. Be sure to join us for the rest.

In 2012, we will witness the first true superhero crossover on the big screen, with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor joining forces as The Avengers to battle evil. The Hulk may even get in on the action. However,this sort of overlap is hardly new to the source material which will inform the film. It seems that the comic book medium is dominated by the crossover fad, with the two major companies churning out massive event after massive event. Is this a good thing which demonstrates the strength and flexibility of the monthly-publishing schedule, or does this style of writing only serve to make the medium even more insular?

Yeah, see how messy this picture looks? Multiply that by about 42 and that gives you the idea of the complexity we're looking at...

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Paul Dini’s Run on Detective Comics – The Heart of Hush

Batman’s rogues gallery is a strange one. Thanks to the character’s absorption into popular culture (by the live action series, the cartoons, the movies), he has a fantastically strong and well-recognised selection of villains – to the point where people who haven’t picked up a comic book wonder whether The Riddler will be the villain in the next Batman film. He has tonnes of opponents who are easily recognised by the public and are wide and diverse, many that any other comic book character would kill for. However, once every few years the powers that be will attempt to introduce a new major villain into the character’s life – for example Grant Morrison populated his own run on the title with new enemies (and the Joker). Very occasionally these are succesful – Bane is a fairly well-known addition to the ensemble, despite only arriving about fifteen years ago, and Victor Zsasz remains the most recent bad guy to be featured in Nolan’s movies – but mostly these are failures – like Orca or KGBeast. Here Paul Dini is attempting to move the most recent major bat baddie from the latter category into the former. Does it work?

Eye see you...

Eye see you...

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Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? (Review/Retrospective)

I guess… I guess I always knew that this was how it was going to end. That we didn’t have him forever. That one day someone would say, ‘Hey, Jim. Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader?’ I’d tell them. ‘Pretty much what you’d expect. He’s dead.’

I just didn’t think it would be today.

– Commissioner James Gordon

I actually quite enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, even if I wasn’t overly in love with it. The prospect of doing a final, definitive Batman story – one not anchored in a particular event, but designed to encapsulate the history of the Dark Knight – must be daunting. Even Alan Moore’s sensational Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? served as a fond farewell to one particular iteration of the Man of Steel. Gaiman’s “last ever” Batman story is a tad more ambitious, bidding goodbye to alliterations of the character. I’m not entirely convinced that it succeeds, although it makes a more than valiant effort.

Clowning around!

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Grant Morrison’s Run on Batman – Batman & Son, The Black Glove & Batman RIP (Review/Retrospective)

I want to love Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. I really do. And I quite possibly would if I didn’t feel like I wasn’t particularly welcome at this massive gala birthday bash. I’ve decided to review all of Morrison’s run on Batman – collected in the hardback editions of Batman & Son, The Black Glove, two chapters of The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul and Batman R.I.P. – as one, because it is all one story. In fact, I’m sure it’ll turn out to be the opening salvo of a gigantic story that Morrison is weaving where it all ties together, but it might be so massive it’s impossible to review all at once. So, how do I feel after the first act?

Who says parenting isn't tough?

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Rest in Peace, Batman…

Batman – or at least Bruce Wayne – has been ‘dead’ for about a year now. He was famously killed off by Grant Morrison through some weird timey-wimey thing I don’t even want to get into. Anyway, it has been a year, and a year since the release of The Dark Knight and seventy years since the Caped Crusader first appeared. He’s come a long way since then and I thought it might be interesting to think about what his obituary might look like, if it were run in a news paper like The Guardian. Sure he’s coming back, but from what we saw last summer, The Gotham Times are all about publishing the premature obituaries. Anyway, here’s what I think it might look like…

Who says he never embraced the camp side of his life? And I bet he has all the accessories too...

Who says he never embraced the camp side of his life? And I bet he has all the accessories too...

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