Thursday, 12 July 2012

Batman and Son

I. Batman and Son
As the title might suggest Batman and Son introduces the offspring of Batman, Damian, who is a brilliant character and will definitely change the dynamic duo forever. Damian's mother is Talia al Ghul and it turns out that he has been trained from birth to kill and replace Batman, but will this be the case? Batman and Son feels like it is building foundations for a much larger series, by introducing Damian in the first half and then barely mentioning him in the second, and fails to really resolve anything. The second half of the book is about the 'Three Ghosts of Batman', three ex-cops who dress as variants of Batman and seek their own justice.

I really like Morrison's writing, except for in one particular comic discussed later, and he clearly has a lot of ideas about what to do with Batman. The idea of Batman being at a loose end when crime is at an all time low is quite amusing and shows that Morrison really gets Batman. I find Grant Morrison's Alfred to be exceedingly well written as he gets the dry English wit and stiff upper lip down to a tee,  though I'm sure Alfred's taste in literature is far too high brow for the likes of Artemis Fowl. I especially like how Alfred remarks that the growl in Batman's voice is leaking over into Bruce's normal voice; as they are becoming less distinct personalities and Batman is no longer the mask, Bruce is.
I think that a lot of people who dislike Morrison's work accuse him of not knowing Batman at all, where as the opposite is true, he knows Batman so well that sometimes it is a struggle to keep up with him. My main criticism of Morrison's take on Batman in general is that it is so steeped in old Batman lore, which most people won't have read, that the full significance of the story is not accessible to everyone. Does this make Batman and Son a bad story? No, not by a long shot, as there is still a lot to like here and it sets the ground work nicely for Damian becoming Robin in the future, but it does feel unresolved.

Batman and Son contains a one-shot, The Clown at Midnight, which can barely be defined as a comic book; it's more a work of literature with illustrations, though not a good one. For the most part the illustrations look like cheap CGI and it would have been better if they had used normal comic book illustrations instead. Grant Morrison has a penchant for flowery prose and redundant similes that don't make for a well written story. At times The Clown at Midnight almost works with it's film noir tone and some alright animations but, whilst it manages to portray what is going on in Joker's head well, Grant Morrison's writing fails to capture Batman properly. The Clown at Midnight feels like a failed experiment and isn't vital to the story at all.

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