Batman: The Widening Gyre… Volume 1

Batman: The Widening Gyre

Image hosting from DC Comics website. DCcomics.com

For anyone who hasn’t heard of the title, please go check it out at local comics shops, or through DC’s digital distributors. It is a fantastic read, gives Batman a nice realism twist and human qualities we sometimes miss in comics. The series is on going, so this review is only of the first 6 issues that are currently out. The second half, is due to be released, no date has been scheduled as of yet. For writing credits, we go no further than Kevin Smith, yes @ThatKevinSmith, from Twitter. Some of you may not necessarilly have read his comics, but have seen his movies, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, the list goes on. Unlike some of Kevin’s films, this is a more serious tone, with a light-hearted comedy that does delve a little into his usual repetoire of humor.  In order to relate Batman: The Widening Gyre to one of his flicks, check out Red State, its a more serious tone with some light humor in it to break it up a bit. With Batman, we see him in his Prime, fighting villains and re-establishing a relationship with a long lost love, Silver St. Cloud. Batman takes on such of his usual villains, with a more realistic twist in some areas. Villains such as a sexually charged Poison Ivy (more than I’d ever seen her before), the mass murdering Joker with more spent blood and guts than TV would allow him. The usual Mr. Freeze taking out his frustrations on a radio DJ. Some flirtations with the nostalgic Catwoman, as well as some appearances from some of the other lesser known villains, like Calendar Man, and Deadshot. Batman hits a point in his life where he feels that he can possibly settle down, as another masked hero arrives to help take on the gauntlet of reoccurring offenders, to complement Tim Drake as Robin and a visit from Dick Grayson as Nightwing.  Some more cameos include The Man Of Steel, Superman himself, as well as some of the heroes from the Super Friends days. The story is presented in a very good way, giving the reader the action, the glory, but giving it an almost memoire style of writing, as if you’re reading Batman’s journals as shown in this comic series. Baphomet – the new hero on the scene, doesn’t appear to be the most conventional of costume heroes, as Batman realizes that he could be the key to allowing Bruce to move on with life, and only pursue villains as a part-time gig. Baphomet, being as committed to the cape and mask as Batman, but with Jason’s determination to keep things going, despite his occasional mistake.

In terms of the artwork, the artist behind the drawings is Kevin’s long time friend, Walt Flanagan. Walt’s style brings a fresh perspective to the comics, instead of some of the usual “Big Tits, Giant Wedges” approach to drawing comics. Walt makes the women beautiful, and the men rugged, but not gratuitously muscle bound. Almost as if the characters were being played by real actors and actresses. You may remember Walt from the “Tell ‘Em Steve Dave” Podcast on Kevin’s Smodcast Network for SIR (Smodcast Internet Radio), and the new reality show based out of the shop in Red Bank. Walt’s style brings the comic to life, giving depth to the characters, and of course giving Batman the darkness and stern looks, while at other times giving Bruce, and Silver emotion, and some character, with lively facial expressions, to go along with Kevin’s writing. The blood looks authentic, much like the snow, ice, water, and fire, giving us the feel that we’re in the DC universe, while giving us subtle glimpses of all the various Batmobiles, and some flashbacks to the old days of Dick as Robin in the Burt Ward costume. Even Kevin puts in a line or two from the Adam West days of Batman like, “Old Chum.” Which at first, since I’m more of a Kevin Conroy Batman fan, made me stop and chuckle as I had watched the old Adam West Batman as well growing up. Both Burton’s and West’s batmobiles make appearances, mainly for those of us loving nostalgia with our Batman fixation. Maybe, if Walt and Kev go with it, they might throw in some Kevin Conroy Batman’s batmobile, but that’s just a fan wish, haha. I eagerly await the next half of the series, as most comics do, its on a cliffhanger, with some sorrow for the Dark Knight. Being a Batman fan myself, I am also waiting for Nolan’s finish or “Prestige” (if some of you have caught on with his technique to trilogies), next summer when The Dark Knight Rises comes out.

With Batman: The Widening Gyre, it is a fantastic read, and gives us a nice take on the Dark Knight with some human desire, something we sometimes don’t see in comics, when it comes to the heroes of our childhood. Hope you enjoyed reading this, more will follow as I read and reflect on the stories to come.

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