It is pretty undeniable that Christopher Nolan’s grim and gritty take on Batman, a very apt portrayal given the character’s nature and the setting of Gotham, pretty much revolutionised superhero movies. In that respect, these movies have done as much to create the mass appeal of such movies as Marvel’s own movies have done in the last decade. But, there have been ups and downs as well, because these movies aren’t perfect, despite the illusion otherwise.
The primary issue I had with the movie was that it magnified the failings of The Dark Knight without offering anything to counter that extreme. It basically just failed hard, as far as I am concerned. For me, it is one of the most disappointing superhero movies I’ve seen to date. It is overly long, self-indulgent, and suffers from a villain who is undone by the story rather than the hero himself. It is a movie that has the purpose of shocking the reader, not entertaining. One can only hope that any future portrayals are better. In the meanwhile, here’s my review of the movie.
Note: The review contains some major spoilers for the movie.
A few days ago I did my best of 2013 list for the books I had read in the second half of the year. In a departure from previous such lists I divided the books and the comics into separate posts so that I didn’t have one massive post up. Massive posts are a bit tough to handle, especially when you are promoting them on social media. And with the split posts, the directions are different and there’s no unnecessary crossover.
So, with the books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite graphic novels of the year. A post with the best single issues will follow on later.
You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
Another Justice League release in December? Heavens, yes! With the delayed release of #25, #26 was definitely affected and it came out this week along with Forever Evil #4, which too had been delayed. Lots of delays on this event, and I’m starting to think that somewhere along the way DC has dropped the ball, in more ways than one. As my Forever Evil #4 review states, I found it to be a dull and disappointing issue at best. Sadly, that seems to be the case for this issue as well, making it two Geoff Johns issues in a row that I’ve found to be subpar. The one saving grace is that this issue is nowhere near as bad as Forever Evil #4 was.
Issue #25 was a character study on Owlman and it gave a lot of backstory on the character. This is in keeping with the other issues of this event across both Forever Evil and Justice League where we’ve seen the origins of the other characters. Ultraman was the first, then Owlman, and now we have Power Ring, Grid, Deathstorm, and the duo of Johnny Quick and Atomica in this issue. In and of itself, this is a decent enough issue but as part of the Forever Evil event, this is subpar because there is almost no plot progression. We don’t really learn what’s happening right now in the DC universe.
After a 2-week delay (might be as much as 3), Geoff Johns’ Justice League #25 finally hit stands this week. As the overlord of all of the Forever Evil titles and controlling the core story of this mega-event, Geoff Johns has been doing great on his most high-profile New 52 book and the new issue is more of the same. If the art on Forever Evil itself could be much better, then that mini-series too could be really good. Thankfully, this is where we get Justice League to plug in all the gaps, where Geoff can let loose with all his crazy ideas and come out with something really good.
Despite what it shows on the cover (another misleading Forever Evil cover by the way), Justice League #25 really is about Geoff exploring the backhistory of Owlman, who is the Earth 3 evil version of Batman. And other than Owlman, we also get to see Dick Grayson through Owlman’s eyes, which was pretty neatly handled. Sadly, Ivan Reis & Co. are not on the art duties on this issue, and we have Doug Mahnke & Co. stepping up to the table, but that ends up benefiting the title rather than taking away from it. And in the end, this proves to be another great issue of Justice League from Geoff and team.
In a bizarre coincidence recently, DC Comics launched Ivan Cohen and Luciano Vecchio’s Beware the Batman #1 just at the same time as Cartoon Network took the show Beware the Batman off-air, with no apparent hope for a return. The show had apparently had low ratings and a cancellation was undoubtedly due, but the suddenness of the fact has left a lot of people dissatisfied. Particularly since Cartoon Network did the same thing last year with Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. And this eventually led to a cancellation of the respective comics as well.
DC seems to be in some kind of an abusive relationship with Cartoon Network that it can’t get out of, given the latter’s behaviour and attitude with respect to the former’s television line-up. It sends the wrong message to fans that the shows have a very limited window in which to get on board or forget about the whole thing. I can only hope that these recent events don’t lead to a cancellation of the Beware the Batman comic, since it just launched, for one and two, it wasn’t all that bad really.
The Justice League family of books have had some really disappointing one-shots for Villain’s Month, whether we talk about Justice League, Justice League Dark or Justice League of America. I haven’t read all the issues for these titles for this month of course, but I’ve read most of them by now, and only two have managed to stand out, Matt Kindt’s Justice League of America #7.1: Deadshot and Justice League #23.2 by Lobo, and for them, only the former has actually been a memorable one.
With this issue, supposed to feature the New 52 version of the Secret Society of Supervillains, I had some high expectations from it. The Secret Society was built up through all two years of the New 52 DCU so far, and the mystery has been a big part of their draw for me. But with the revelations of Trinity War last month, I finally wanted to see the Secret Society explored in full. This issue would have been the perfect place to explore that, but sadly it falls far from the mark.