Sunday, February 14, 2010

Two Gotham stories for you

2010 is really about the comics for me it seems. Over the past few days I read the first two volumes of Gotham Central and movie director Kevin Smith's foray into the world of graphic novels, Cacophany. I didn't love the Smith comic, but I like it more than the Amazon reviews. You really notice the Smith touches in places. His movies are about man children who realize the love of their lives is right in front of his eyes, sometimes too late, sometimes just in time. His scripts are over flowing with words about the nature of love and relationships. In this book, Smith shows Batman as obsessed with Joker and he comes off a bit whiny in places. I suspect some are put off by that. Some more are probably surprised by Smith's take on Joker. He is the usual homicidal maniac, but he is also gay, which allows Smith to indulge in his penchant for sex jokes.

The star of the book is a new and nasty villain called Onomatopoeia, who breaks Joker out of Arkham for his own reasons. Smith has another Batman book going and I hope he includes this guy.

Gotham Central, on the other hand, is flat out fantastic, although poor sales eventually killed it. The book is set within a special crimes unit of the Gotham Police Force, special in that they deal with the crimes of supervillains. Creators Brubaker and Rucka could have taken a tongue in cheek approach or a gonzo violence piece, but instead they went the Wire route. The story lines are dark, the police flawed and the infrequently seen Batman is a source of both tension and relief for the police. They resent how they are not part of his world and how his actions can cause them harm.

The stories are sometimes obviously comic book, like when Mr Freeze ambushes a pair of cops and they try to pick up the pieces, literally. Other stories like the one where a cop deals with here parents and fellow officer's reactions to her outing as a lesbian are just straight up drama. Either way, they are great.

No comments: