No new comics this Wednesday, so I’ll fill in the void by discussing a relatively neglected (at least compared to his other early 90s work) Grant Morrison work, Batman:Gothic, which originally appeared in issues #6-10 of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, with Klaus Janson drawing the book.
This is the type of book that fans of Morrison’s JLA run will enjoy, and serves as a fun stopgap to read until Morrison takes over writing Batman in July.
That this is a fairly straightforward tale doesn’t mean that it is TOO straightforward, as Morrison still manages to put together some interesting concepts, specifically concerning the background of the villain, Mr. Whisper, who comes from the days of the Black Plague, and has sold his soul for extended life, and now has a plan to trick the Devil, and his plan involves wiping out Gotham City.
What I think is fun about this story is the approach Morrison takes to Batman, having him appear recognizable to fans of the Batman from the Super Friends (Batman flies to Europe on the Bat-Gyro at one point) while still keeping it dark enough to be “the Dark Knight.”
He is aided here by Janson’s moody, expressive artwork, which is old school enough to appeal to “classic” Batman fans while still obviously dark enough to appeal to modern fans. I mean, come on, we’re talking Klaus Janson here – he can DO moody!
The invulnerable Mr. Whisper is also a fun villain, and Morrison manages to pull off the near-impossible, tie a new villain into Bruce’s past and not have it turn out completely silly. In fact, I enjoyed the look at Bruce’s past at boarding school. Clever stuff. The only thing I didn’t like was how close it was to his parent’s death. Making it a week or a month later would have been a lot cooler.
The interaction between the mobsters was good, and I loved their relatonship with Whisper. Especially WHY he got revenge upon them at this point. Very clever.
John Constanza’s choice for the older fonts was a bit annoying to read, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.
So, anyhow, this is a fun, quickly-paced Batman story with great art. How can you go wrong?
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