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Batman: Noel — A Holiday Story for Batman Fans

When I first heard about Batman: Noel, I thought it was going to be a complete retelling of A Christmas Carol and in a way it was. The narrator tells the famous Charles Dickens tale as best as he can, while we watch Batman have some similar experiences to Ebeneezer Scrooge. In the place of the spirits, we have three individuals who make their presence known to the Dark Knight.

The story opens with the narrator telling us a little about himself and how he first heard the story. We see a man following instructions in a note and running for dear life from the Batman. After threatning the man and letting him go, Bruce heads back to the cave to spy on him with the tracking device he placed on the man’s shirt. It turns out the man has a child and Batman couldn’t care less about what will happen to him. As long as he gets the Joker, that’s all that matters.

The story continues in the Christmas Carol spirit when Bruce almost swears that he sees his dead partner, Robin (I’m assuming Jason Todd) in the cave with him. It almost seems to shake Bruce a little, but just as soon as the moment had come, it passes and Bruce is back to focusing on his mission to nail the Joker.

The first spirit is played by Catwoman. As the Ghost of Christmas Past, she complains to Batman that he’s changed and is no longer as fun to play with. Batman only gets angrier at her deception of having information on the joker and tells her he is no longer up to playing her games.

Later, he is found by Superman (playing the part of the Ghost of Christmas Present) who said he heard him “coughing all the way in Metropolis”. While on a forced “tour” of the city by Superman, Batman overhears the Police talking about him to Gordon, and his reaction is none to happy.

The third persona is the Joker and he has his own plans for the Dark Knight before he heads out to kill his henchman and his son. These scenes were a little disturbing for me and if it wasn’t for Bruce being very sick thorughout the story, I wouldn’t have believed the Joker could have taken him down so easily. After Bruce comes to his senses, he runs in to save the day and finally be the Batman I know and love.

At the end of the story, I was left wondering about the boy. Could he have been Tim Drake? Think about it…father down on his luck and turns to crime. No mother in the picture. The character has this hope that Batman is a really cool guy trying to do good for the city. Ummm….

The story shows a much colder version of Batman than I’m use to seeing and I hate watching him have no care in the world for an innocent child whose father is only doing work for the joker to keep them both alive.

I’m happy to report that the story has a happy ending and Bruce sees the error of his ways. Of course, we never find out if he is fully changed, because the story ends, but one can hope that the times of him using fathers and children as bait are over and he returns to being the Batman we know and love.

I’m disappointed to say that you can not purchase this title on Comixology, but you can find it on Amazon.

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DC New 52 — Let’s Talk Batman and Superman

One day my younger brother Douglas and I headed to our local comic book store. Douglas has been interested in reading comics again so I suggested he start reading the New 52. Since I already buy Justice League and Justice League International, he decided to get Batman and Superman so we could swap comics. I was really excited to hear his opinions on the new Batman and just as  excited to get my hands on his comics.

*I now interrupt your reading experience to bring you this warning: If you have not read Superman or Batman yet and don’t want anything spoiled for you, STOP READING HERE. I now return you to your regularly scheduled article.*

Batman issue #1 Cover Art

 

After Douglas read the first issue of Batman, he was really confused and a little annoyed. “I thought they were starting over from scratch? How can you do that with Damian Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake all on the same page as Bruce Wayne??”

 

I took his comic and skimmed over the pages to see what he was talking about. I found it clear as day on page 17 of  Batman #1. I read the little info squares above each character and started thinking. Doug’s argument was that each of the three characters had so much history to them. How was it possible that they were all standing there looking like a family and on the same team?

Lucky for him, Big Sister had the answer. “The New 52 is about starting from scratch. When you read them you have to read like you don’t know any of the characters’ history. A typical newbie will know Batman’s basic origin. The things a newbie won’t know are that Dick Grayson, Damian Wayne, and Tim Drake are all from different periods in Batman’s history. Since they don’t know that little piece of information they will take what they see at face value.”

Basically, you won’t miss what you don’t realize is different. After I explained this to him, I saw the wheels in his head turning and then finally click into place. In regards to Batman, I think this was done by DC to show they were really serious about starting over. You see not only Batman’s history being re-written, but also those around and involved with him.

After I finally had his comics to myself, I sat down and started with Batman. Something strange happened while I was reading. I started to feel things I hadn’t expected. Having never read a Batman comic book before, I noticed that there was a certain darkness about it. I had some excitement in me, but I also felt despair and worried for the world I was reading about. This isn’t something I get when reading other comic books. For example, in the Justice League, the colors, humor and attitude of the characters makes me feel hopeful and ready to cheer them on. Feeling emotionally drained after reading a comic book was something new for me.

Superman Issue #1 Cover Art

My husband managed to get his mitts on the Superman comics before me. When he was finally done, he said his only problem with the Superman comics was he felt like he should be reading Action Comics alongside next to it. He saw in some scenes when a flashback was going on, that Superman would be drawn just like he looks now in Action Comics. Other than that he said he was really enjoying the storyline and was excited to see the next ones.

Reading Superman taught me something about my marriage: my husband and I have very different views on what we consider to be a “problem” in a comic. After I read the first two Superman issues, I already saw some major changes, non of which seemed important to my husband.

The biggest change for me was Lois Lane shifting jobs and sitting behind and executive’s desk. One of the things I loved in the animated series was watching Lois as a field reporter. It will be interesting to see how she fares behind the desk and what kind of “danger” she can run into now. On the upside, this opens up the character for a new world of problems both personally with Clark and professionally with her new boss.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the fresh start both Superman and Batman were given in the New 52. Even though I won’t be rushing to the store for every new issue, I’m happy to see the excitement in other comic book readers. Veteran comic book readers will notice the changes in both immediately. While some might say this takes away the legacy of the characters, I have to disagree. I think the New 52 is not treading on their legacy, it’s making it richer.

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Comics from a newbies point of view

When DC announced their new 52 series, I was ecstatic. I have always wanted to get into reading the Superman, Batman, Justice League comics. What scared me out of getting into it was all the history I didn’t know. The new 52 gave me what I was looking for…a fresh start with all my favorite comic book characters. I would like to think I know a lot about Batman and the others, but the truth is I am a complete virgin to their comic book worlds.

As a child I watched Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Superman: The Animated Series. As an adult I fell in love with The Batman cartoon series. So for the most part in the realm of the cartoon series, I feel pretty well versed.

Most comic book lovers know that what you read in the comics and what you see on the cartoons are two entirely different things. The Joker for instance went from being a murdering psycho (comics) to just a psycho who was more of a nuisance in Batman’s side (animated series). My younger brother and I would have long discussions comparing what he was reading in the comics to what I would see on TV. The fact that one character could have so many incarnations still amazes (and confuses) me.

I have started to read The Justice League and Justice League International and I love them both. Justice League hit the ground running with the team not being in formation and Darkseid being the main villain. In the first 5 issues, they already have a majority of their team introduced, so from here on out I expect it to be about kicking Darkseid’s tail and eventually proving to the world that they are the good guys.

Justice League International started a little slower. I already see issues with how the team was formed. It makes me wonder what is really going on in the U.N. They have already kicked some butt but they have a long way to being a good team. The next few issues I think it will be more about Booster as the leader and how he gets the team to be more of a team. I also expect that the issues some of the U.N officials have with the team will come to light.

As for characters, my favorite character in Justice League right now is Barry Allen as the Flash. I have always preferred Barry Allan over Wally West because I feel Barry is more adult and mature. Wally was always a horn dog in the cartoon series. The words exchanged between Flash and the other members is quick and to the point. He makes a joke and moves on. It’s also nice to see him still have a friendship with a Green Lantern like in the Justice League animated series. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) seems to be a prick with an ego. I don’t know much about him as a lantern so I don’t have anything to compare him to. I was warned not to see the movie so I read a book that day instead.

In Justice League International, I was taken back when it was announced that Booster Gold was the leader of the team. I know Booster briefly from the cartoon series and to be honest, I was not impressed. Another a big surprise to me in Justice League International is the strong presence that Batman has. It feels like the creators are using him to draw in the readers with a popular character. It worked. In this series though, Batman seems to have had an adjustment to his attitude. He acts almost like a big brother to Booster. He doesn’t lead the team, but he does give Booster little hints at what he should do. Don’t get me wrong, he still has that “don’t screw with me unless you want your jaw in 4 pieces” attitude. He just seems a little friendlier on this team than I remember him in the cartoon series.

All in all, I never realized how fun it was to read comic books. The only downside I have found is the comics themselves are not that long…Ohh well, next month the new one will come out and I’ll get my fix again.

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Batman: Nevermore

While taking English Composition II in college, I was given one of my most interesting homework assignments. My Professor asked us each to pick a story written by Edgar Allen Poe and find a movie that has all the same Gothic elements to compare it to.

I did things kind of backwards and chose my movie first and then I found a story that had many of the same elements. For my movie, I choose Michael Keaton’s 1989 “Batman”. Despite the newer Nolan Bat I still prefer the good old classics. After reading what felt like dozens of Poe stories, I settled on “The Tell-Tale Heart”. I immediately saw some similarities. In my research of the Batman, I learned that the similarities I was finding in the two were not a coincidence. As it turns out, Batman and Poe have some real history in common.

To start the creators of Batman, Bob Kane and Bill Finger were sitting in Edgar Allen Poe Park when they came up with the idea for Batman. An ironic twist is that eventually some of Poe’s short stories would be the inspiration for themes that would recur in Batman’s adventures.

Edgar Allen Poe also created a detective by the name of C. Auguste Dupin. The character was known for his creative thinking and intellect. When the Batcomputer was first introduced in the comic book  series “Batman: Confidential“, the original nickname for it was “Dupin” after Batman’s hero. Eventually Edgar Allen Poe and Batman would team up to solve murders in a five part limited series called “Batman: Nevermore“.

Here’s a chart showing some of the Gothic elements I found in common between the Batman movie and Edgar Allen Poe’s story “The Tell-Tale Heart”

 

Edgar Allan Poe and the Batman Comparison Chart

 

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