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Batman Day is September 17th. Let’s celebrate our superhero!
BEST: BATMAN: HUSH (2002-2003)
Collects Batman #608-619
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Dialogue: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.
Plot: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.
Characterization: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.
Art: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.
In Batman: Hush, the Dark Knight must recover the Lamont ransom. To this end, the comic features a who is who of Batman’s rogues. And the Dark Knight races to uncover the identity of the masked villain who threatens the Bat-family.
Perhaps, one of the most popular Batman story arcs in recent memory. With superstar talent from writer Jeph Loeb and artist Jim Lee, Hush is one of the greatest Batman graphic novels. In addition, Superman appears in issues #611 and #612. Also, witness Batman vs Killer Croc.
To sum, the dialogue serves the ambiance of mystery and thriller characteristic of the best detective stories. In part cryptic, and in part terrifying, the dialogue heightens the comic.
Certainly, it is a strong part of the comic and the narration helps point important moments and their urgency.
Generally, Hush has a stellar plot though with some great themes. Indeed, the central theme in the graphic novel is Batman’s failure to protect Jason Todd, the second Robin.
Though the first part of the arc is its strongest, the big reveal of the masked villain at the end may feel contrived. In addition, the resolution leaves some plot holes unanswered. Overall, the plot is focused and brilliant as a detective story.
Perhaps, the most faithful aspect of the comic. Really, Jeph Loeb’s characterization is top-notch. For the most part, heroes and villains act in character.
In addition, Batman’s budding romance with Catwoman is left unresolved though with an indication the villain may know more than she seemed. However, other rogues only appear for fan service. Notably, Joker is not fully developed in the story.
When the series debuted in 2002, the creative team was its strongest selling point. As matter of fact, Jim Lee’s art is legendary in this comic. In Superman: For Tomorrow, the artist continued on the work started here.
Really, Batman: Hush has been one of the most successful Batman comics in years.
With action, mystery and romance, comic collectors love this story. Definitely, this storyline is one of the greatest Batman stories.
Definitely, collect the story arc in single issues or graphic novel in paperback format.
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Detective Comics (1940) #27, titled “The Screaming House” marks the first appearance of Batman in DC continuity. The issue tells one of Batman’s cases early on. During the issue, the Detective battles Count Grutt and his gang of thugs.
The comic was written by Bill Finger and penciled by Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson.
BATTLES OF THE WEEK Enter the two contestants on the JLA Watchtower. On the left side, is Batman, the Dark Knight and on the right side, is Prometheus. Let’s look at the stats. BATMAN – NEW EARTH SUPER-STRENGTH: PEAK HUMAN SUPER-SPEED: PEAK HUMAN DURABILITY: PEAK HUMAN ENERGY PROJECTION: METAHUMAN FIGHTING-SKILLS: METAHUMAN INTELLIGENCE: GENIUS PARAPHERNALIA […]
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Celebrating Batman Day? For the comic, click on the Amazon product image below to purchase the Hardcover comic.
Over his long storied history, Batman has been incarnated in various media: comic, live-action series and movies, video games, radio and more. Importantly, what has seized the fans’ imagination seems to have been the Dark Knight’s tortured but disciplined humanity. Though Batman may have demons, he always seems to come out on top. And he always comes to a battle prepared with ten moves ahead.
However, in the romance department Batman seems to consistently fail to form lasting relationships. Since DC Universe Rebirth, has that changed? Let’s explain.
#BATGOD OR #BATNINJA?
In his multiple relationships, Batman has always seemed to remain aloof. In addition, he has struggled with trust and the ability to manage both his romantic relationships and his crusading as the Dark Knight.
From our previous article, we continue the central question of our series: Do his relationships with his femme fatales, bring out the best in Batman making him a #Batgod, or the worst in Batman making him a #Batninja?
*This image is copyright-reserved to James on Flickr and is titled Brooding Batman.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
So far, the Twitter audience has given one vote to Talia Al Ghul.
Let’s look at four of Batman’s femme fatales and explain how they affect whether they are #Batgod or #Batninja.
Perhaps, one of Batman’s most dangerous loves. In fact, Talia Al Ghul loves and is loyal to two men: Her father Ra’s Al Ghul and Batman her lover. Without a doubt, her loyalty to her father has often caused conflict with Batman. In Tower of Babel, she breached Batman’s trust in order to steal his contingency plans and attacks the JLA. Later, Robin: Son of Batman popularized in Damian Wayne’s solo title the truth he was Batman’s and Talia al Ghul’s.
For years, Talia hid his existence from the boy’s father. Moreover, she trained Damian in the League of Asssassins. Also, to complicate matters, in Deathstroke vs Batman, Talia arranged for Damian’s false paternity tests in order to start a feud between the rivals. Though Talia has helped Batman on many occasions, she definitely brings the worst in him. Definitely, Batman is her Bat-ninja.
Really, this relationship has remained more of an infatuation and respect than anything else. Within the Trinity, Wonder Woman has held a close bond with Batman and perhaps, a closer one with Superman. In fact, the Superman-Wonder Woman romance takes its starting point from their impossible romance while fighting a thousand years in Valhalla.
For their part, Wonder Woman seems drawn to Batman’s decisiveness, mystery and solitude. During their battles, they naturally grew close together. During “JLA: Obsidian Age,” they even shared a kiss. However, nothing long-lasting came of it. For their mutual respect and burgeoning romance, Wonder Woman definitely makes Batman into a Bat-god.
Perhaps, a strong contender for Batman’s most passionate flame. Initially, Batman mistook his feelings for Pamela Isley as love. In reality, as a chlorokinetic, Poison Ivy can manipulate men’s and women’s emotions with pheromones. On many occasions, Poison Ivy has attempted to kill the Dark Knight.
On other instances, she has longed for a relationship with him. In Feat: Batman, Batman: Gotham Knights #64, we explain how Batman cured Pamela Isley of her chlorokinesis. Later, the two would have a relationship that ended on Pamela’s suicide attempt. Definitely, Pamela brings the worst in the Caped Crusader as her Bat-ninja.
Over 82 years of shared history, Catwoman has been the relationship that has suited Batman the best. At times tense, at times passionate. Also, at times supportive, at times cheating. At the same time, though they ultimately did not trust each other in Hush, their relationship blossomed over the years. In Tom King’s DC Rebirth run on Batman (2016), Batman actually proposes to Catwoman.
Certainly, a monumental shift which even leads to her pregnancy. However, the pair ends up not marrying. Nonetheless, it appears Catwoman has been a constant in the Bat-family and continues to support the Bat in times of need. Definitely, Batman is Catwoman’s Bat-god and their relationship truly helps both.
Given Hulk’s tough skin and “oversized lungs”, no one outside of at least a Metahuman Level in Strength Class could have caused Hulk’s reflex.1 Evidently, Batman kicked Hulk at a pressure point, the solar plexus.
In terms of Strength Level, Hulk’s oversized lungs would have necessitated approximately a Planetary Level of Super Strength in order to gasp for air.
For this reason, in order to save appearances, we can state that the Bat-kick likely required Bat-ninja Fighting Skills with chi manipulation. Or blame it on Deus Ex Machina.
“Batman: Hush” is a Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee storyline. The storyline is certainly one of the most celebrated Batman stories of the 2000s. What makes the story stand-out is the mystery surrounding Lamont’s Ransom and Bruce Wayne’s relationship with childhood friend Thomas Elliott.
“Batman: Hush” includes art by Jim Lee which has stood the test of time and a plot by writer Jeph Loeb. The first half of the storyline is action-packed and is concerned with recovering Lamont’s Ransom. The second half seems to be less unified story-wise and features a major Batman rogue every issue. The second half is concerned with finding out the mysterious mastermind behind the recent attacks on Batman and Gotham City. It is Batman’s attempt at tying up loose ends and uncovering the mysterious masked villain who has been observing him on the rooftops.
There are lots of dialogue, descriptions and splash action pages. There is seriousness typical of Batman’s stories though after Poison Ivy is captured, the story kicks into high gear as the different attacks on Batman and the Bat-Family involve the villains exploiting Batman’s weaknesses. The storyline is masterful though the intrigue can at times be obvious. Batman and the Bat-family shine. One disappointment is the fact that the Batman-Catwoman relationship is not resolved at the end, but ends abruptly.
This storyline is probably the best Batman story of the 2000s because of the superstar talent involved and the amount of characters appearing in the plot. However, the resolution of the plot may seem anti-climactic and the Hush villain is not given enough emotional resonance in the final battle with Batman. Also, Batman’s rogues only serve to plant clues to the mystery but do not serve any characterizations.
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BEST: “BATMAN: THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.” (2005).
Collects ‘Batman: The Man Who Laughs’ #1 One-shot.
“Batman: The Man Who Laughs” is one of the very few origin stories on Joker. What makes Ed Brubaker’s story stand out is the focus on Joker’s crime spree in Gotham City instead of focusing primarily on his origin story. Joker works best here as the one that moves the story forward and whose genius mind always seems two steps ahead of Batman’s. Indeed, the definition of a criminal mastermind.
Batman definitely grows from his experience with the Clown Prince of Crime. A serious and disciplined mind, Batman’s training excels with the murderers, rapists and muggers. However, he is ill-prepared for psychotic killers of Joker’s ilk. What is Joker’s motive and what is his modus operandi? To see Gotham City burn and to have every Gothamite die laughing!
This is certainly a worthy addition to your Batman collection, with a blend of suspense, action, intrigue and gore. The comic is not for the faint of heart and is destined for a more mature audience.
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BEST: “BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN (2006).
Collects ‘Batman and The Monster Men’ #1-6.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
“Batman and the Monster Men” (2006) is Matt Wagner’s six-issue mini-series as part of his Dark Moon Rising series. Another mini-series created by Wagner is “Batman and The Mad Monk.” The purpose of the series was to tell the story of Batman transitioning from fighting organized crime to fighting supervillains.
In an interview with CBR.com, Wagner revealed his inspirations were two Golden Age stories about the Caped Crusader. Wagner sees the Batman stories as re-inventing classic tales from Batman’s rich history. And it fits. For fans of the Golden Age Batman stories and “Batman Year One”, the mini-series has kept many of the classic elements: Batman’s cape and cowl remain the same following the “Year One” storyline – though he upgrades the Batmobile -, the lettering and inking are maintained throughout the different series, and the emphasis on storytelling as opposed to social commentary and action is maintained. The transition from vigilante to superhero is not immediately evident, but the beginning is there.
Some words about the storyline. In the “Year One” continuity, “Batman and the Monster Men” takes place after Year One but before the Man Who Laughs. Batman definitely seems to be learning on the job and the inclusion of Hugo Strange seems a marked difference from the usual Arkham Asylum rogues. In fact, Batman faces superpowered foes in the vein of mutated cannibalistic monsters twice. The story is tight and progresses at a satisfying pace. The art fits the storyline and the darkness that envelopes the panels forebodes the monstrosities of Hugo Strange’s experiments. There is horror and blood, characteristic of Batman’s crime cases. What Wagner shows is that Batmn is first and foremost a detective, whose dedication to solving crime cases jeopardizes hi personal and his love life.
Wagner succeeds in crafting a tale with classic elements that is sure to satisfy Batman fans. Definitely pick this comic if you want to see the evolution of Batman after “Batman: Year One”.
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Comicbook Database is a great site if you are a comic book fan! The Battles of the Week a great way to learn about the different power levels of the heroes, and a fun way to fancast some of the most wanted battles across comics.
“Bruce Wayne: Fugitive” (2002) is a storyline by Ed Brubaker, Chuck Dixon, Greg Rucka, Devin Grayson, Kelly Puckett, Rick Burchett, Rick Leonardi, Steve Lieber, Trevor McCarthy, Scott McDaniel, Roger Robinson, Damion Scott and Pete Woods.
The storyline centered on Batman facing a personal threat and losing touch with his humanity. After Bruce Wayne and his bodyguard Sasha Bordeaux were framed for the murder of Vesper Fairchild at Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne evades captivity, cuts ties with the Bat-Family and investigates the case as Batman full-time. Concurrently, the Bat-Family carries its own investigation.
This storyline works as an exploration of Batman as a character. What makes this comic good is the fact Batman is presented with a challenge he has hardly faced and with the question of whether Bruce Wayne is the facade and Batman the real persona. Batman does regain touch with his humanity and manages to solve the case, however, at great personal cost to his love life.
What deprives the story of its impact is the lack of consistency in pacing and art since there are different writers and artists involved. The work suffers from uneven pacing and problems with visual story-telling in some issues.
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GOOD: “BATMAN: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT” (2007).
Collects ‘Batman Confidential’ #1-6.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
“Batman: Rules Of Engagement” (2007) is a six-issue mini-series by Andy Diggle and Whilce Pottacio. The mini-series is set a year into Batman’s crime-fighting career and reveals a war of weaponry between Lexcorp and WayneTech.
The series may not have received good reviews. One review commented on the art, the plot, and on Bat-god. One element of the story that is missing, is the lack of good and a repetitive visual storytelling in the final battle. Pottacio’s lines are dark, daring and violent. Though he does not excel at conveying emotions and telling a story, he is good at ensembles and splash pages.
The series explains the transition to Batman using more hi-tech weaponry, his rivalry with Lexcorp and the formation of the Wayne Foundation. If you want to see a well-executed weaponry battle between Batman and Lex Luthor, this comic should entertain you. It may provide clues to who is the better strategist and prep-planner between two of the smartest men in the DC Universe.
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