Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Black Glove

II. The Black Glove
I never thought I would ever have to write the word gush, but here I am about to do it twice, there is no other way to say it than The Black Glove made me gush; I am now officially a Grant Morrison fanboy. I have seen The Black Casebook described as background material for the whole series and inspiration for Batman: RIP, but I think it is more than that and pretty vital to fully appreciate The Black Glove. I think that my enjoyment of The Black Glove would have been far more limited without reading the background information first.

The first arc is a murder mystery case on an isolated island featuring the 'batmen of many nations' who, along with the Club of Heroes they belong to, were introduced in The Black Casebook. It's great to see what has become of these batmen since they were younger crime fighters; one of them accidentally killed a man but then got rich off of a book deal, one of them is a recovering drug addict, and one of them is an alcoholic. It is great to see Batman as an incorruptible absolute compared to these other batmen who are way past their prime. Batman has his problems, but gets over them.
I especially like J.H. Williams III's work in the first half of TBG and his recurring use of a glove outline as a border.
The second arc brings back the third batman from Batman and Son and fleshes out their back story. This whole section is littered with references to The Black Casebook; whether it be redrawn panels appearing, visions of past events superimposed on reality, just the name of the comic, or even Batman's subconscious taking the form of Bat-Mite. I really want to see how Batman: RIP further develops the references shown here as they are quite brief and, if you haven't read The Black Casebook, will probably go right over your head.

Something that does annoy me about Grant Morrison's Batman is that he never seems to finish a story arc within a trade, which gives them a lack of closure and means that you have to read them all to understand what is going on. I would have liked to have seen more Damian, who has barely been featured since the first half of Batman and Son. My only other complaint is that some pages layouts make it hard to follow what is happening all the time. Both Tony S. Daniel and J.H. Williams III contribute beautiful art here, but both can make it hard to follow the action.

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