Friday, November 14, 2008
Comic of the Week: "Batman - Cacophony"
I like Kevin Smith ("Clerks," "Chasing Amy"). I like Batman. Put them together, and you have "Batman: Cacophony," a three-part miniseries that gets off to a crackling start with issue No. 1. A few people have complained that the dialogue is a smidge too cute, but I got a kick out of it - particularly the opening exchange between the Joker and Deadshot in Arkham Asylum. There's a sitcom-y bounce to the whole thing, which is interesting considering that Deadshot has broken into the nuthouse to shoot the Joker at point-blank range. At a discount, no less.
Obviously, the Joker does not meet his doom. Instead, he is sprung from the joint by a cryptic badass named Onomatopoeia, and - how to put this? - at one point, the Joker appears to be offering the guy a quickie up against a tree. Trust me; it's funny. But just when I'd settled in for more hijinks, Smith threw in an extremely disturbing couple of panels featuring the villain Mr. Zsaz, who is, to put it mildly, a cutter. He's also insane, even by Gotham City standards. Enter Batman, and not a moment too soon. Just to reiterate: This is not one for the kids.
Of the three comics I bought this week, including "Nightwing" and "JSA Kingdom Come Special: Superman," this was easily the most well done. The artwork by Walter Flanagan is quite good, and as things usually do with the Joker, the first issue ends with a bang. Clearly, this has nothing to do with "Batman: R.I.P" or "Final Crisis," which is probably why I enjoyed it.
As for that JSA special, can I just say that I am over the mopey, alternate-world Superman? He seems like a nice guy, but how many more pages is D.C. going to devote to him bitching about the destruction of his Earth, the loss of alternate-Lois and blah, blah, blabbity blah? Move on! Even the minister he consults seems to be thinking, "How long is this gonna take? I have a Meals on Wheels in an hour." The art is gorgeous, but I'd expect nothing less from writer/illustrator Alex Ross.