Jul
26

Batman and Robin #13 – “Batman and Robin Must Die! Part 1: The Garden of Death”

Posted by David Uzumeri on Monday, July 26th, 2010 at 10:14:36 AM
Brief Bloom.

Brief Bloom.

Batman and Robin continues, beginning the “Batman and Robin Must Die!” arc, which Morrison has stated is “R.I.P. as farce.” Each issue is named after a classic gothic painting; this one is “The Garden of Death” by Hugo Simberg, pictured above. Many shots and events in this book are deliberate evocations of events in “R.I.P.”, so I recommend a rereading before engaging in any close analysis of this story.

And, as usual, the links to my other annotations:

Stuff here (original Batman run, current Batman and Robin)

Stuff at Comics Alliance (Return of Bruce Wayne #1, #2, #3; Batman #700)
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Mar
15

Batman and Robin #s 8 and 9 – “Blackest Knight” Parts 2 and 3: “Batman vs. Batman” and “Broken”

Posted by David Uzumeri on Monday, March 15th, 2010 at 02:56:54 PM
Batman and Robin #8
Batman and Robin #8
Batman and Robin #9
Batman and Robin #9

After the extensive infodump of last issue, these two issues are FAR more streamlined as we ramp up to “Batman vs. Batman” and the return of Bruce Wayne. In this installment: The Bug Black Voice of Gotham City! The Bible of Crime! And… Batwoman! Come back soon for Batman and Robin #10, and a look into the Wayne family’s lineage, but until then let’s see what further clues we can divine from “Blackest Knight.”

Additionally, I’d like to give a shout-out to the superb amypoodle at the always-sublime Mindless Ones, who put together an insanely compelling counter-theory to mine about Simon Hurt. It’s great stuff, and you should really check it out, as I’ll certainly be keeping it in mind in the months ahead.
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Jan
28

Batman and Robin #6 and #7

Posted by David Uzumeri on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 09:07:03 AM
Batman and Robin #6
Batman and Robin #6
Batman and Robin #7
Batman and Robin #7

The #6 annotations are so late partly because the issue seemed rather sparse to me and partly because Gavok over at 4thletter! just completely demolished the landscape of any of my commentary, so what’s below regarding that issue is heavily indebted to his realization about the nature of the story. Then, below, commentary on today’s #7, which is detailed and byzantine and littered with references and basically my wet dream as an annotator.
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Jan
3

Bruce Wayne: A Man of Wealth and Taste (Batmannotations Gaiden)

Posted by David Uzumeri on Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 at 08:25:42 PM

What if there were an ultimate villain out there, unseen? An absolute mastermind, closing in for the kill? What if there existed an invisible, implacable foe who’d calculated my every weakness? Who had access to allies, weapons and tactics I couldn’t imagine. An adversary whose plots and grand designs were so vast, so elaborate, that they went unnoticed… until it was too late. How could I prepare for a challenge like that? Would I have the resources to deal with it? I’ve often wondered. If my hypothetical ultimate enemy can be imagined, I can’t help considering the possibility that he actually exists. Breathing… feels like drowning. And if he exists… if the king of crime is real… is he telling me his name?

- Bruce Wayne, Batman #674

From Batman #666
From Batman #666

By the time we were about halfway through Batman R.I.P., and our esteemed British colleagues the Mindless Ones were divining hints from ancient Chinese wisdom, and I was still rambling on and on and on about goddammit no seriously they WILL reveal Alfred as the villain, there’s one thing we all agreed on: whether or not Simon Hurt was actually supposed to be the literal Devil, he certainly was a metaphorical one.

The question is – what’s the significance of that? If Simon Hurt is the Devil – or, as our li’l buddy Damian states there to the left, “may as well be” the Devil – then what does that mean? What, for all practical purposes, is the Devil?
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Oct
7

Batman and Robin #5 – “Revenge of the Red Hood Part Two: Scarlet”

Posted by David Uzumeri on Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 at 06:50:27 PM
Batman and Robin #5
Batman and Robin #5

As suspected by a few people in last month’s comment thread, the Red Hood is in fact the obvious option, Jason Todd. So that entire mystery’s away from us, although the domino killer and Man-On-Gargoyle are still milling around, not to mention Oberon Sexton.

Philip Tan’s art in this issue is rather confusing and unclear with regards to the storytelling, especially on the fifth page, so I’ll try to disentangle some of those things as we go.
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Sep
16

Batman and Robin #4 – “Revenge of the Red Hood Part One: Red Right Hand”

Posted by David Uzumeri on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 at 06:04:22 PM
Batman and Robin #4
Batman and Robin #4

Again, a link to what’s come before.

The immediate interpretation of the issue title is the Nick Cave song of the same name, but its use within the issue makes it pretty clear that while that may have been an inspirational source, the context in which it’s used in the issue relates more to Milton’s “Paradise Lost” – which isn’t to say the song doesn’t eerily parallel the promises Red Hood is trying to sell Scarlet.

Philip Tan comes on as artist for this arc, and it’s certainly very different from Frank Quitely; losing Alex Sinclair as colorist gets rid of the posterized sky effects, and Tan’s art style owes way more to his time on Spawn than any precedent Quitely set, all stark shadows and straightforward panel layouts. This is a much darker look than what Quitely offered.

But anyway: new story, new start. Let’s go!
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Sep
15

Batmannotation Catch-Up: Batman and Robin #2-3

Posted by David Uzumeri on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 at 02:16:44 PM

First off, a link to what’s come before.

With #4 hitting this Wednesday, I figured it was high time to get back into the game and take a look at the latest two issues of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Batman and Robin. I just reread Morrison’s entire Batman run to refresh my memory, so I’m good and ready – here goes!

Well, maybe I *do*, asshole!
Well, maybe I *do*, asshole!

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Jun
3

Batman and Robin #1 – “Batman Reborn Part 1: Domino Effect”

Posted by David Uzumeri on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 05:30:29 PM
Batman and Robin #1
Batman and Robin #1

And we’re back after those messages! Finally, the main narrative line of the Batman books returns with Grant Morrison at the wheel aided by the ever-incredible Frank Quitely. And, in an all-new team-up, Alex Sinclair on colors, which leads to such interesting effects as the sky behind Wayne Tower looking like a badly compressed .GIF. While this issue is significantly more straightforward than the past few issues of Morrison’s Batman run, I have no doubt that things will get complex and trippy eventually, and until then it’s probably best to keep up continuity with these annotations, no? Besides, they’re fun.
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Dec
24

Batman #683 – “What the Butler Saw”

Posted by David Uzumeri on Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 at 12:14:31 PM

And thus, we end Grant Morrison’s first run on Batman. You’ll be missed. Lots to annotate this time around; lots of stuff referenced that’s more within our lifetimes. Let’s get to it.
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Dec
4

Batman #682 – “The Butler Did It” (A Final Crisis Tie-In) (A Last Rites Tie-In)

Posted by David Uzumeri on Thursday, December 4th, 2008 at 03:38:27 AM
Batman #682
Batman #682

Double crossover banners, bitches! THIS ISSUE IS IMPORTANT!

And the title of this post isn’t even a spoiler, I ain’t doin’ my victory dance just yet. Note time. Also, this issue? Less straightforward than the last two.

But first, a note.
If you’ve dug Grant Morrison’s run on this title, and the sort of philosophical psycho-thriller approach he’s taken, then I highly recommend you check out this week’s X-Men Noir #1 by Fred Van Lente and Dennis Calero. It’s a gorgeous book, and Van Lente’s script is incredibly smart and bursting with novel ideas in a way I haven’t seen on an X-title since, well, Grant Morrison. It’s astonishing how well he translates the X-Men’s core themes – and I don’t mean the Claremontian “wah wah we’re persecuted just like real world minority” themes, I mean the themes about evolution and natural selection and the generation gap – into a world without powers, but everything remains intact, and the manners in which this is accomplished are absolutely inspired. It’s a great book, totally worth both the admittedly high price of $3.99 and the considerable amount of hype Marvel’s given it, and may have actually been my favorite book I’ve read this week. (I haven’t hit up Jason Aaron’s Punisher X-Mas Special, though, which Tim Callahan seems to have adored, so that might change. But I doubt it.)

UPDATE: I just read the X-Mas Special. Tim’s right, it really is brilliant, so get that too.

Lo, there shall be… annotations!!
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Nov
26

Batman #681 – “Batman R.I.P. Part 6: Hearts in Darkness”

Posted by David Uzumeri on Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 at 04:47:41 PM
Batman #681
Batman #681

Yeah, yeah, I know I have shitty reactions sometimes. Full-on notes below the jump, although this issue is way more straightforward than normal.
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Oct
2

Batman #680 – “Batman R.I.P. Part 5: The Thin White Duke of Death”

Posted by David Uzumeri on Thursday, October 2nd, 2008 at 02:46:22 AM
Batman #680
Batman #680

I dunno what kind of overview to give here other than “holy shit, this issue was incredible.”

So holy shit, this issue was incredible. Annotations below, and Tim Callahan‘s got his take up on his site as well. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug
16

Fun with Solicitations: DC Spoils the Crap Out of Their Books

Posted by Chris Eckert on Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at 08:05:22 PM

A message board several FBBers frequent has been embroiled in a debate about what constitute “spoilers”: many posters feel like if something is revealed by official company promotional material (Nick Fury’s “Secret Warriors” will survive Secret Invasion and receive their own book, Darkseid successfully takes over Earth in Final Crisis, Character X will be appearing soon in Title Y) then those plot points don’t really constitute “spoilers”. Usually this sort of thing doesn’t constitute a “twist” or whatever, and so these topics are fair game for discussing upcoming comics. But DC seems determined to test this assumption with their November solicitations, as seen on Newsarama. So be warned, “spoilers” after the jump:

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Aug
14

Batman #679 – “Batman R.I.P. Part 4: Miracle on Crime Alley”

Posted by David Uzumeri on Thursday, August 14th, 2008 at 12:15:34 AM

Oh hell yeah. This issue was incredible.

Batman #679

Batman #679

Page 1: Batman’s fully enveloped himself in his new persona. Note his weapon, the baseball bat, making him a literal bat-man. (I can’t believe I had to have this pointed out to me.)

Pages 2-3: The tailor doesn’t seem to be Paul Gambi, the Crime Tailor. As an aside, as I stated on Tony Daniel’s blog, I utterly adore Bat-Mite’s little cheering expression while Batman gets his interrogation on. Fantastic.

Page 4: This is where things, obviously, start getting weird. Batman’s always been associated with perching next to gargoyles; however, the rapport with the city here is new. Le Bossu’s gargoyle henchmen go along with his Hunchback of Notre Dame theme.

Page 5: “A machine designed to make Batman.” This is perfectly in standing with Morrison’s assertions about the nature of urbanism from The Invisibles, as well as the The Magus/The Game-inspired aspects of this whole arc. How deep does the rabbit hole go? Is the entire city of Gotham a playground designed to create such a wonderful human creature, or is Bruce Wayne fucked up and listened to his imaginary friends? The way Morrison’s managed to make it so it could really go either way is fantastic. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul
9

The Morrison Batman Notes Part 3 – From Here We Go Sublime

Posted by David Uzumeri on Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 at 12:48:01 PM

Part one

Part two

Part three is HERE:

Batman #676
Batman #676

Batman #676 – “Batman R.I.P. Part 1: Midnight in the House of Hurt”

(art: Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea & Guy Major)

Page 1: We shoot forward in time for a page. The background, with red skies and lightning, fairly definitely dates this page as being during or around Final Crisis. Batman and Robin’s identities are vague; Robin looks smaller, like Damian, and seems to have a white cape, while Batman is completely ambiguous (but, given Final Crisis itself, is likely Bruce).

Page 3: Hurt’s description of their coverup for Le Bossu’s murder sets a clear precedent for the Black Glove’s methodology, falsifying documents and destroying reputations. It’s certainly in line with the framing of Mangrove Pierce for Mayhew’s murder of his fifth wife, and the way they destroy Bruce Wayne.

Pages 4-5: We meet the rest of the Club of Villains – Charlie Caligula (Legionary), King Kraken (Wingman), El Sombrero (the real one this time – El Gaucho), Pierrot Lunaire (Musketeer), Scorpiana (El Gaucho) and Springheeled Jack (the Knight). Dark Ranger appears to be unrepresented by a nemesis in the group.

Pages 8-9: Finally we see the new Batmobile, under construction since #655. It’s shockingly functional.

Page 11: The hobo with the shopping cart is Honor Jackson, who plays a very important role in #678. The money Bruce gives him is used to buy heroin, which he overdoses on. The Green Vulture is yet to reappear, but may; he could simply be a representative of what Alfred calls on the next page “the American Idol era of equal opportunity supercrime.”

Page 13: “Miss St. Cloud” was Bruce’s love interest from the Englehart/Rogers Detective run; much like Jezebel, she was a smart lady who figured out who Bruce was, but ended up driven away. “Miss Bordeaux” is Sasha Bordeaux from Greg Rucka’s Detective Comics run, who similarly found out but got burned (by taking a murder rap) and ended up becoming the Black Queen of Checkmate after playing a huge role in 2005′s OMAC Project.

Page 14: Here, Alfred’s manner of speech becomes much more learned and curious – not subservient, but especially the “His is a mind like NO OTHER” speech seems to evoke Hurt’s scientific study of Batman.

Page 15: Note, also, how he practically goads Tim on to feeling insecure about Damian, sowing discord in the ranks of Batman’s trusted.

Page 17: Establishes the Black Glove as a group of “incredibly rich and mysterious people”, in line with Mayhew’s comment about how the wealthy are beyond law and morality.

Page 18: Arkham Asylum.

Page 19: This is all a creepy fantasy in Joker’s head.

Pages 20-21: Joker is utterly insane, surprise surprise. It’s shown this is his fantasy lookin gat a Rorschach blot held by an in-disguise Le Bossu, who’s apparently infiltrated Arkham (so this must take place a while after the opening scene ‘six months ago’ with Simon Hurt) and is inviting the Joker to work in the Glove’s plans.

Page 22: The blood on the Joker is a coloring error, according to Morrison; this is the real world, and the Joker hasn’t actually killed anybody. He’s still stuck in Arkham. Also notice his obsession with flowers, his instruments of death in #663.
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