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The Adventures of Batman & Robin – House and Garden (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

It’s amazing how thoroughly Batman: The Animated Series was able to explore Batman’s iconic selection of bad guys, demonstrating how remarkably deep and varied his villains are. Paul Dini was perhaps the strongest writer when it came to drafting these psychological portraits of Arkham’s countless denizens, even inventing characters like Baby Doll and Harvey Quinn for the show. (With Harley now an established and iconic character in her own right.) While Poison Ivy had a strong debut episode, and a run of strong appearances, House & Garden stands as perhaps the most thorough exploration of the villain’s psyche, building a relatively complex portrayal of her psychology and pathology in under half an hour.

House call…

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The Adventures of Batman & Robin – Deep Freeze (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

Heart of Ice is a phenomenal piece of television. Paul Dini’s sharp script somehow managed to take one of the most camp and forgettable theme villains in Batman’s iconic selection foes, and elevate them to a prime position. After all, were it not for that reimagining of the villain, Victor Fries would likely be a footnote in Batman history, ranking not too far above the Killer Moth or the Calendar Man in the dregs of Batman’s rogue’s gallery. However, while the story provided a concrete and grounded origin for an otherwise Z-list villain, it also raised some interesting questions about where the character could be taken after that.

His second appearance in the series, Deep Freeze seeks to answer those question. While, ironically, it’s considerably shallower than its predecessor, it’s still an interesting look a villain defined by this show.

Freeze frame…

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Judd Winick’s Run on Batman & Robin – Streets Run Red (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

Today we’re taking a look at three of the authors who followed Grant Morrison’s groundbreaking Batman & Robin run. And, rounding off our day of reviews, is Judd Winick’s three-issue arc.

I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed at how DC editorial handled Batman & Robin after Morrison departed. In hindsight, it’s apparent that they were waiting until the high-profile post-Flashpoint DCnU to relaunch the title with its new creative team of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, but that still means there were ten issues between the end of Morrison’s run and the proper start of Tomasi and Gleason’s. While using fill-in writers and artists might have seemed logical, I can’t help but feel like there should have been tighter editorial control of the book.

While Paul Cornell and Tomasi both maintained some association with Morrison’s well-loved run, Judd Winick uses the title to tell a three-issue story arc that doesn’t necessarily fit. Instead, this three issue story-arc feels like it should have been a miniseries or featured in an anthology title, fitting more easily within the character continuity of Winick’s resurrected Jason Todd than within any framework of Batman & Robin.

All good for the Hood?

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Peter Tomasi & Patrick Gleason’s Run on Batman & Robin – Tree of Blood (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

Today we’re taking a look at three of the authors who followed Grant Morrison’s groundbreaking Batman & Robin run. And, in the middle, are Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason.

It seems that Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason were originally intended to be the full-time creative team succeeding Grant Morrison on Batman & Robin, allegedly chosen by the Scotsman himself to take over the title. However, possibly due to the post-Flashpoint reboot, the series ended up bouncing around various authors and artists, including Judd Winick and Paul Cornell. However, Tomasi and Gleason did manage to contribute one three-issue storyline to the title before the relaunch, Tree of Blood. While it might not be the most conceptually fascinating Batman story, it does show that the team are well suited to the title, and serves as an appetizer for their current run.

Signal for action…

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Paul Cornell’s Run on Batman & Robin – The Sum of Her Parts (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

Today we’re taking a look at three of the authors who followed Grant Morrison’s groundbreaking Batman & Robin run. We’ll start with Paul Cornell.

I’m going to be entirely honest here. I am very disappointed that Paul Cornell hasn’t really got a shot at an on-going Batman book. The author has been something of a rising star at DC comics for what seems like years, and recently provided the best Superman run in recent memory with his wonderful Lex Luthor story in Action Comics. He’s a writer who is astutely aware of the genre conventions, while being shrewd enough to exploit them to his advantage. He writes distinctly “comic book!” comic books, but without following the standard plot patterns just for the sake of adhering to formula. His three-issue Batman & Robin fill-in arc might not be his best work, or the best work on the title, but I do admire Cornell’s willingness to provide a compelling criticism of the Batman mythos instead of merely offering a generic paint-by-numbers treading-water adventure. Even if it doesn’t quite stick the landing, Cornell’s story is certainly ambitious.

Drilling it into them…

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The Adventures of Batman & Robin – Bane (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I figured that, with The Dark Knight Rises being released this week, it was worth taking a look at another portrayal of the film’s villain, Bane. While the character appeared in the dire Batman & Robin, he also featured in an episode of The Adventures of Batman & Robin, the rebranded Batman: The Animated Series. While the portrayal of the villain is undoubtedly much better here than in that awful Joel Schumacher film, there’s still a lot of room for improvement, and a sense that the writers and producers weren’t entirely sure what to do with the character.

No Bane, no gain!

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Tony Daniel’s Run on Batman – Battle for the Cowl, Life After Death & Eye of the Beholder (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

Tony Daniel’s Batman is a decently entertaining book, one that has clearly been put together with a great deal of skill and care by an artist and writer who seems to be not only enjoying himself, but keen to learn on the job. Handed the unenviable task of writing Battle for the Cowl, the three-issue miniseries designed to link Grant Morrison’s Batman run to his Batman & Robin run, Daniel was given an assignment that would make even a seasoned writer blush with uncertainty – tasked with writing connective tissue between two densely-layered Grant Morrison series, it’s hard to imagine a writer who would have managed anything that much better than the somewhat limp mess that Daniel produced. Still, DC was keen enough to grant the artist not only on-going art chores on the Batman series (rapidly approaching its seven-hundredth issue), but also to let him write it. While it’s hardly the most iconic or memorable tenure on a Batman-related title, it does have a number of charming and somewhat redeeming features. The most impressive one is that Daniel seems willing to learn and to improve as he goes.

Some men just want to see the world burn…

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