Welcome Nuance Enriches Batman: White Knight 5

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

This is the first installment of Batman: White Knight where Batman has really felt like Batman to me. Sean Murphy digs into the character’s nuances in a way that he hasn’t in previous issues. This is the Batman who will buy Harley Quinn a dress and support her sincere, if bungled, efforts to reform, because under his gruff exterior he truly does care about people, even villains. This is the brilliant detective who has managed to piece together a good 95% of Neo-Harley’s plan when most of the other heroes barely even realize she has a scheme at all. Even Batman’s failed attack on Neo-Harley that closes the issue — which results in the destruction of one of Gotham’s bridges and Batman becoming a fugitive — is motivated by Neo-Harley’s personal attack on him and a desire to protect his family, not wild, unreasonable vengeance. This isn’t the gruff madman of previous issues — this is a complex Batman who still wants what is best for Gotham City. He’s just blinded by his hatred of the Joker. Continue reading

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Uncertain Uncertainties in Batman: White Knight 4

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Despite the series being at its halfway point, I honestly don’t quite know what to make of Batman: White Knight. I still believe that Sean Murphy is a tremendous artist, but other than that, my feelings about this series are mired in uncertainty. It seems that some of that uncertainty is purposeful, inherent to the premise, but some of it feels very unintentional and frustrating. I wish it was easier to tell the difference. Continue reading

Batman: White Knight 3

by Mark Mitchell

Batman White Knight 3

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The primary mystery of Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight (with an assist from Matt Hollingsworth on colors) is determining what exactly Jack Napier’s intentions are. How much of his stance against Batman on moral grounds is part of a longer con? And even if Napier is truly free of the Joker, he’s certainly willing to indulge in a little villainy if the ends justify the means. But then, the same can be said of Murphy’s Batman, and it’s the murky morality of most all the major players in Batman: White Knight 3 that makes this book so compelling. Continue reading

Politics and Puddin’ in Batman: White Knight 2

by Michael DeLaney 

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Batman: White Knight, but I can now safely say that it is indeed worth the hype. White Knight is part Elseworlds, part political commentary, and part meta commentary on a particularly shameful retcon of recent DC continuity. Continue reading

Batman: White Knight 1

by Ryan Desaulniers and Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

 He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

Jim Gordon, The Dark Knight

Ryan: Since that line was uttered in lamentation of Gotham’s corruption, I feel as if it’s almost become a canonical outlook on the Caped Crusader. The thing about that line, though, is that it’s purely subjective on Gordon’s part, and particular unto the circumstances of that Batman story in that film. And almost every statement can be used against the point for which it was originally made, right? Even scientists with objective data sets can use the same numbers to support the opposite side of an argument, or the same verse of scripture used to prove opposing points. In Batman: White Knight 1, Sean Murphy takes Jim Gordon’s iconic statement and uses it to sow the seeds of a Gotham wherein the Joker justifies his action with that logic, both as a villain and a hero. Continue reading

Tokyo Ghost 6

tokyo ghost 6

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Tokyo Ghost 6, originally released April 20th, 2016.

Shelby:  I used to listen to the news on NPR every morning, but I’ve stopped for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is that it’s simply too depressing; so many shitty people being shitty to each other, it’s too much to take. And I’m not even talking about the election coverage, which I am completely sick and tired of, despite the fact we’re still only in the primaries. Not only am I tired of all the bad news about bad people doing bad things, I have very little trust in the news that I hear. Every news story has me wondering who paid for their version of the truth to be broadcast, who is trying the hardest to trick me into being on their side. I can understand why the people of New Los Angeles would rather plug into mindless entertainment than put up with sorting through the spin and PR to find the truth. And that’s exactly what Rick Remender and the rest of the creative team on Tokyo Ghost want me to understand: they want us to understand how easy it can be to become the willingly ignorant, and the cost of breaking free. Continue reading

Tokyo Ghost 5

tokyo ghost 5

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Tokyo Ghost 5, originally released January 20th, 2016.

Shelby:  A difficult personal story: about a year and a half ago, I witnessed a murder/suicide in my office. It shattered my world as I knew it. Everything is different now for me; my social anxiety is through the roof, I can’t really deal with parties or crowds anymore. I worry constantly about my interactions with other people: am I behaving correctly? Have I said/been offensive? I should probably apologize, I clearly did something wrong. I get depressed a lot, I find it can be difficult to get excited about things, even things I love and find exciting. The world as I understood it was taken away that day, by one person’s decision. I think that might be why I love Debbie in Tokyo Ghost so very much; I understand her fight to get back the world she lost when Teddy became Led Dent. Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t go back. Sometimes, as Led is about to discover, the end is the end. Continue reading

Tokyo Ghost 3

Alternating Currents: Tokyo Ghost 3, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Tokyo Ghost 3, originally released November 18th, 2015.

Drew: There’s something violating about an “averted happy ending” — endings that dangle a “happily ever after” in front of the audience before cruelly snatching it away. Vertigo is probably the most well-known example of this, but there are countless others. It’s an effective choice — we’re conditioned to expect happy endings, so denying us that happy ending at the last moment is always surprising — but it’s often brutal on the audience, who just wants resolution for the characters. It would be misguided to suggest that Tokyo Ghost 3 presents an averted happy ending — the central conflict has barely begun, let alone concluded — but I couldn’t help but feel just as violated by the loss of that “happily ever after.” Continue reading

Tokyo Ghost 2

 

tokyo ghost 2

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Tokyo Ghost 2, originally released October 21st, 2015.

Shelby: We got Internet at my house when I was in high school. I had experienced it before then, of course, but I was old enough to remember that moment my farm in rural northern Wisconsin was plugged in and online. Those of us in our late 20s/early 30s are probably the last generation to remember life before the internet, when life and plans had to be scheduled ahead of time instead of on the fly, when the thought of connecting to someone a world away was unheard of, when there was just some information you didn’t have constant access to. As someone who feels too old be a Millenial and too young to be a Gen-Xer (or whatever came before the current generation), I feel of two minds about our near constant plugged in state, but Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, and Matt Hollingsworth sure don’t. The future they’ve envisioned in Tokyo Ghost is a world where the worst parts of the Internet have taken over, and it is somehow grimmer and more fascinating than you’d imagine. Continue reading

Batman Annual 4

batman annual 4Today, Ryan D. and Taylor are discussing Batman Annual 4 originally released September 30th, 2015. 

Ryan: Batman has been happening for quite some time, both in the real world and in the oft rebooted DC Universe. Fans of the series remember his numerous encounters with his rogues gallery throughout the years, as villains escape time after time from the doldrums of Arkham Asylum to once again terrorize the city of Gotham. The formula for Batman may even be seen as a little tiresome: villain arrives, terrorizes Batman, Batman wins, villain returns again, eventually — maybe teaming with another foe, something messed up happens to Bruce Wayne’s personal life, his family rescues him, rinse, repeat. So what is it that draws us back into Batman narratives when the conceit can seem formulaic? Much of its appeal, I would argue, comes from the long-standing history which the reader shares with the character, one which can make jumping into a title so compounded with spin-offs and mini-series and event tie-ins intimidating for some. Batman Annual 4 offers an easy jumping-in point as Bruce Wayne undergoes yet another identity crisis, catching a casual or first-time reader up while showing the audience why a protagonist mired in the past can be so fascinating.

Continue reading