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Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen’s Streets of Gotham – Hush Money, Leviathan, The House of Hush (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’m a big fan of Paul Dini. He was perhaps the finest writer on staff for the superb Batman: The Animated Series and he wrote a superb run on Detective Comics (culminating in the rehabilitation of a modern villain in Heart of Hush). He’s one of few writers out there who genuinely has a firm grip on the characters that inhabit the world of Gotham. I was quite looking forward Streets of Gotham, the Batman title that Dini would be writing in wake of Batman R.I.P., promising a unique perspective on Gotham and its guardians. Unfortunately, the end result feels relatively slight, with the series never truly finding a comfortable niche, and bouncing around somewhat inconsistantly.

Batman could handle this in his sleep…

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Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives, Vol. 1 (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.

It’s very hard to believe, but there was a time when both Batman and Detective Comics were on the verge of cancellation. While the character had been one of the first major superheroes to emerge, and had a profound impact on many who followed, the fifties had not been kind to the Batman. When changes in the market forced the publisher to move away from the traditional crime stories, they tried to tell science-fiction epics. This approach actually worked quite well on Superman and Action Comics, as Superman leant himself to stories about aliens and other dimensions, but these elements felt somewhat out of place in a Batman comic book. In a last ditch effort to save the titles, editor Julius Schwartz was drafted in to revamp the character and his world, resulted in a “new look” version of the Caped Crusader who would inspire Adam West’s version of the character, but felt like something of a return to the character’s roots.

Na na na na na na na na…

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Batwoman: Elegy (Hardcover) (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.

When I read Batwoman: Elegy, I couldn’t help but feel like I just didn’t get it. I mean, it’s good, it’s really good, but everybody and their mother had been going on and on about how it was the best Batman book in ages, and how it really was redefining what you could and couldn’t do in mainstream comic books. I liked it, but I didn’t love it, and it’s hard to put the finger on why – I suspect it’s something purely aesthetic. As much as I appreciate the fantastic art of J.H. Williams, it all seemed rather conventionally plotted by Greg Rucka. It was your standard cookie-cutter superhero story, which meant that the art just looked like pretty window dressing on a fairly routine storyline.

Last night, the bat signal went off in her head…

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Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Vol. 1 (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.

I figured, what with Christopher Nolan releasing the final part of his Batman trilogy this month, it might be worth going back and taking a look at the early days of the Dark Knight. DC have done a rather wonderful job collecting classic material featuring their iconic heroes as part of their “Archives” line, a line that seemed to have died last year, but I am very glad to see undergoing a resurgence. The idea is that each archive edition collects roughly a year’s worth of classic comics. The premium format pays for the restoration of the material, with DC then making it available in more cost-effective packaging, like their paperback “Chronicles” line that collects every appearance in order, or their “Omnibus” line, which collects larger chunks.

Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Vol. 1 doesn’t collect Batman’s very first appearance in Detective Comics. However, it does collect the first four quarterly publications of his self-titled Batman comic book in 1940, each collecting several stories of Batman’s crusade against crime.

Batman Begins in six panels…

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Paul Dini’s Run on Detective Comics – Detective & Private Casebook

Paul Dini is, for my money at least, the best writer writing Batman today. Anyone doubting that would do well to check out his run on Detective Comics. In a return to the character’s pulpy roots (where buying an issue would generally give you at least one story), Dini’s run is dominated by done-in-one stories (with the odd two-parter and then the five-issue The Heart of Hush rounding it off). It’s brave and daring experiment, and that he attempted it is almost as surprising as how brilliantly he succeeded.

Do you want to point out he should keep both hands on the wheel?

Do you want to point out he should keep both hands on the wheel?

Note: Unfortunately I can’t find a library-bound copy of Death and the City for review, so I am missing the middle chunk of Dini’s standalone stories, but he does go to great pains not to lockout readers who haven’t read every issue he has written. If I find a copy anywhere, I’ll update the review.

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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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