Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Under darkest night

Book: Absolute Batman Hush

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Original Batman creator: Bob Kane

Published: 2005 (DC Comics)

Pages: not numbered. Lots, again.

I like to tell myself that I’ve started reading comics to study epic, crime-fighting story arcs. You know, for the superhero novel that’s my own current writing project. Research!

But it’s really because I like the big exciting pictures, I have A Source who hand-picks his best series for me to borrow (hi Thomas!), and sometimes I’m tired and my head hurts and I just want to watch Batman kick ass or chase Catwoman for a couple dozen pages before I go to sleep.

And Hush is a great vehicle for that. I think the darker, lined art style really helps reflect Batman’s hero persona; there are rough edges and complex details that go into both to bring to life a regular (well, sort of) guy who hones his own skills and his own motivations to get shit done. That’s why I like Batman.

Favorite enemy, based on their linear meet-greet-‘n’-mess-the-streets appearances in this series: the Joker. He’s a little bit too fond of bad puns, but he’s drawn as absolutely maniacal and it’s awesome. Least favorite: oh, Harley Quinn. I wanted to love you, but every time you said something, your written speech pattern made me hear it in the most obnoxious fake Brooklyn accent ever. And again with the not-so-funny one-liners.   

I am glad I was able to borrow an omnibus copy of all the issues because I could plow through the whole storyline and get to the reveal at the end which, for me, as a new reader to the specifics of Batman’s universe and rogue’s gallery, felt much too shallow to hold all the intrigue and misdirection that went into it. Minor spoiler: I was so hoping Thomas Eliot was gonna go evil in a much bigger way.

And I read the extra material, the notes on creating each panel and the IM conversation with DC and the notes on what they had to change. Normally I love peeking behind the curtain. But when the curtain is hiding non-gems such as, “We made this guy Hush because I like him so much as a character” and not, like, a detailed, foot-noted explanation of why said character fits perfectly into the story they wanted to tell, the ending I didn’t like got spoiled just a little bit more.

Also. DC Comics. I am calling you out for letting a series sell out a few times over with AN IMPROPER USE OF ITS/IT’S RIGHT SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF IT. SHAME.

Ahem. But carry on the good storytelling.