• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

Bob Haney & Neal Adams on The Brave & The Bold – Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams, 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.

In his introduction to this volume, Adams suggests that Bob Haney is one of the most “overlooked” writers in comic book history. “Though they have not gotten the recognition they deserve,” Adams argues, “Bob Haney’s stories are classics of good old comic-book drama, and dense in plot, incident, and twists.” I actually really agree with that summary of Haney’s work, and I think it’s a shame that he’s not included among Denny O’Neil and Steve Englehart as one of the writers who shaped Batman as comics entered the Bronze Age. His stories were ridiculous, but they had a sense of pulpy energy and dynamism to them. Idle folly like reason and logic are subdued to rapid-fire high-concepts, a no-nonsense Batman and a sense that literally anything could happen.

So this collaboration should be epic. Bob Haney is – to me, at least – a definitive Batman writer; Neal Adams is – widely accepted, I hope – as a (if not the) definitive Batman artist. However, combining the two doesn’t work quite as fluidly as one might hope. The stories here are solid, highly entertaining and beautifully rendered, but they’re nowhere near as effective as either creator would be working with a later collaborator. Still, even if not quite at the peak of their powers, Haney and Adams make for a powerful creative team, and there’s a lot to enjoy on their collaboration on The Brave and the Bold.

Wall-to-wall excitement…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

Scott Snyder’s Run on Detective Comics – Batman: The Black Mirror (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.

These past few years have been a great time to be a Batman fan. On top of Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy, you’ve also had the Arkham Asylum video games, Grant Morrison’s genre-busting run on Batman & Robin and now Scott Snyder joining the franchise. Indeed, even the lesser on-going series (like Tony Daniel’s Batman or Paul Dini’s Streets of Gotham) are still relatively entertaining, if significantly flawed. However, when good creators have gotten their hands on the Batman mythos in the past five years or so, incredible things have happened. And Scott Snyder’s Detective Comics run, The Black Mirror, is one of those incredible things.

Jump in…

Continue reading

The New Batman Adventures – Over The Edge (Review)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. To tie into this morning’s review of Under the Red Hood, I thought I’d take a look at what might happen to Batman if he lost a partner.

Following the success of Superman: The Animated Series, a new bunch of Batman episodes were commissioned by Warner Brothers to compliment Batman: The Animated Series. However, this new series would be animated in the style of the Superman series – typically meaning a lighter animation and fewer lines. The transition was jarring, to say the least. Indeed, many commentators make the observation (whether fair or not) that The New Batman Adventures offered a “lighter and softer” approach to the Caped Crusader and his universe. Though I think that’s not an unfair description, it is also worth conceding that the season also gave us quite possibly the single darkest half-hour in the entire history of the DC animated universe. I refer to Over the Edge.

Those expecting a light story might want to look elsewhere…

Continue reading

By Gordon! Is Commissioner Gordon the Central Character of Nolan’s Batman?

We have to save Dent! I… have to save Dent!

– Commissioner Gordon, at the climax of The Dark Knight

It was Joss Whedon himself – the man now helming The Avengers – who once argued that the problem in bringing DC adaptations to the screen was that the traditional line-up was somewhat difficult for the audience to relate to and engage with (as compared to identifying with the X-Men’s status as social outcasts or Peter Parker’s nerdy little troubles):

Because, with that one big exception (Batman), DC’s heroes are from a different era. They’re from the era when they were creating gods.

And the thing that made [rival publisher] Marvel Comics extraordinary was that they created people. Their characters didn’t living in mythical cities, they lived in New York. They absolutely were a part of the world. Peter Parker’s character (Spider-Man) was a tortured adolescent.

DC’s characters, like Wonder Woman and Superman and Green Lantern, were all very much removed from humanity. Batman was the only character they had who was so rooted in pain, that had that same gift that the Marvel characters had, which was that gift of humanity that we can relate to.

Of course, he cites Batman as the excpetion, but you can’t help but wonder just how easy it is to relate a billionaire playboy who is focused on avenging the loss of his parents to the exclusion of all else. The wonderful thing that Christopher Nolan has done with the Batman mythos is to render it so wonderfully accessible. And perhaps he’s done that by making James Gordon, as wonderfully played by Gary Oldman, the centre of his saga.

Gordon lights up the movie...

Continue reading

Batman and the Mad Monk

With all the Silver Age love that Grant Morrison is giving Batman and Geoff Johns is showing Hal Jordan, it’s nice to see a little reflection back towards the Golden Age, which is generally forgotten (it helps that many of the comic book heroes that we have today only really emerged during that Silver Age, and that the writers would have grown up during it). Here we have a contemporary retelling of one of the early Batman stories, as reimagined by Matt Wagner in a follow-up to another Golden Age adaptation, Batman and the Monster Men. It’s a lovely little fun story that stands tall among the many, many early adventures in Batman’s career.

Who let the dogs out?

Who let the dogs out?

Continue reading