This book was going to have to impress the shit out of me to make me forget the shit that was Shadowland. There’s a lot of shit going around this book right now and it seems like that’s going to continue. This was an extremely underwealming performance from Diggle and Gianfelice. I’m especially dissapointed in the latter as I’m a fan of his work on DMZ and Northlanders. His work here is fine but it’s not as strong as either of works. It’s servicable, but it’s pretty boring and unispired.
Though, it would be hard to get inspired from this thin, uninteresting story. After the major fuckover of Matt Murdock’s character that Diggle helmed I was inclined to chalk it up to editorial interferance. This story, however, has puddle-deep depth and understanding of Matt. Fucking awful. It’s billed as this rebirth of Matt — okay, I’m down. In an opening scene, Matt takes a beating because he’s rejecting the cycle of violence around his life — cool, progress. Ten pages later he’s going to beat up a bunch of crooked cops. Great. Amazing. I’m glad that he got over all that shit in 10 pages.
Now, I fully recognize that in the next issue he could back away from violence or something — but I was hoping for something more that Matt Murdock stumbling into a crime plot. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but here is how this story is going to go: Matt is going to keep pushing this small town to find out its dirty secret; the blind kid that he bonds with at the start will probably die, and at the end Matt will realize that he needs to pick up his costume again to avenge that innocent boy and all the other innocents. The end credit will say “How Matt Got his Groove Back” and I will stop buying Daredevil comics for the rest of my life. — Miles Baker
There’s a real charm to what Cornell is doing with this miniseries. Especially for someone who, like me, loves British culture. Rather than telling a big six-issue story Cornell has used this miniseries to focus each issue on one thing, and always through the lens of England. We’ve seen the way British superhero culture works and we’ve seen an exploration of British cults but this issue we take a breather to really focus on the characters of Knight and Squire. No surprise… it’s my favourite issue yet.
There are a lot of things that I love about this issue, but my favourite is probably the way that Squire’s new relationship with another hero is portrayed. It’s not made out to be a perfect, hopefully romance. Heck, it’s not even made out to be a GOOD one, he’s kind of a dick. Still, it’s also not demonized (nor is he), and you get the impression that it may be a good thing for the characters for a while before it inevitably ends.
Another awesome thing here is Knight’s version of Alfred, who is an American named Hank. In the back-matter (which is a great read) Cornell explains that every international Batman should have a butler from “the opposite country”. I like to think that Canada’s Batman has an Australian butler.
I’ll leave it here, since a lot of the charm of this series comes from never knowing what to expect, but I highly recommend this miniseries to other Britophiles (did I make up that word or does it exist) like me. It’s good fun. – Owen Craig.
The first words of the issue are “Where am I?” If I’d noticed that before, maybe I wouldn’t have been so confused. Red Robin is captured by what appears to be the Calculator (but maybe not) and the Riddler, before getting saved by old school Adam West-style Batman and Robin. It was crazy; I was thinking I must’ve skipped an issue.
It wasn’t until the sixth page when a single sentence of dialogue, which alluded to the circumstances of the previous issue, that the whole story came flooding back to me. It was like magic. This is why I prefer well done exposition and stand alone-ishy issues over the straight “here’s what happened” front page over at Marvel. Not to say these intros aren’t useful, but I feel it encourages writing for trade. Just my opinion. But seriously, I felt amazing when I remembered how this issue tied into the last one.
I should note that when Red Robin said the dialogue that refreshed my memory, he had also forgotten what happened last issue (remember those first lines in the book?) — the effect is that the protagonist and I are having roughly the same feeling at the same time. I doubt this was done on purpose, but bravo either way.
The issue takes place in a computer world, like an evil Matrix. Well, evil-er Matrix. So all the characters looked like however they wanted to look. Tam Fox revealed her insecurity in the face of all the super hero weirdness she’s been confronted with in this series — she looked like a baby. Once she got a little confidence she grew into an afro wearing 70’s “Foxy Lady.” She got made fun of for that form too.
Red Robin, interestingly enough, had a different look too. While it’s been theorized that the dark cowl and attitude of “Red Robin” was a mantle assumed as a form of self-flagellation in the face of the deaths of all his loved ones (and I’m talking about EVERYONE). But now that Batman, Superboy, Kid Flash, and Stephanie Brown are ALL back — well Tim Drake is in a much nicer place. He’s still a little on the outside of things, but now it’s more a case of him being an adult, stretching his wings. Reflecting that, his costume in this book is definitely a combination of his Robin suit with Nightwing’s look. I love it — I officially vote for this to be Tim’s new look.
They covered a lot of ground in this one issue, but the implications of the computer world, its origins and implications- Nicieza has opened a can of worms that holds the potential for a lot of good stories in the future. That creates a kind of potential energy and excitement for me, whether or not Nicieza returns to the concepts here.
One other thing — lately I’ve been thinking about the idea of acting with zero consequences. The questions of “what would you do if you could get away with anything? And and what does that say about you?” Tim is faced by a computer image of his father’s killer, in what boils down to a very detailed game of Halo, and he doesn’t kill him. “Here, like in the real world… that would be too easy…”
Tim, even thinking of that at all, really endears him to me. Man, what a great guy. True, he is fictional. – Isaac Mills