Posts Tagged ‘Brave And The Bold’

More Reviews

July 24, 2008

Working my way through the July 24th stack…

 

Brave And The Bold was good fun.  I can kinda understand why Waid was disappointed in the series’ sales; in today’s market, anything that doesn’t tie into a BIG EVENT or have LASTING CONSEQUENCES is going to get skipped over by a lot of people.  As this is Waid’s second-to-last issue, it strikes me what a shame this is, as the book has always been fun, old-fashioned superhero stories with great art.  I’m a big fan of Scott Kolins, and he doesn’t disappoint here, but is it just me or does the colouring in this issue make everything look a little washed out?  Compare it to his Flash work, or even the last issue of BATB.

 

Justice League Of America gets dumped on a lot too these days, for similar reasons, I think.  It’s no longer the BIG EVENT book it was during, say, the Lightning Saga, but it’s not trying to be.  McDuffie (who I loved when he was writing for the JLU cartoon) is no longer playing second fiddle to Salvation Run and Final Crisis, and is getting to finally tell his own stories.  And they’re fun, witty, enjoyable stories.  The recent additions of Wally West and Firestorm, not to mention guest star Zatanna, make for a large cast but a diverse and interesting one.  I hope McDuffie won’t be kicked off the book to make way for another big name before he has a chance to build up a nice, long run.

 

Not having been familiar with Ambush Bug, I didn’t know what to expect from Year None, but I found myself laughing out loud several times.  Comic book satire can be hit-and-miss, especially when the character has been out of the public eye for a while and no one’s quite sure if his style of humour works any more… but Ambush Bug: Year None works.  I know that Giffen wants to keep the series accessible and so he doesn’t want readers to have to have read Identity Crisis to enjoy this issue, and he succeeds, but the IC jokes were so on-the-mark that I found myself wishing he had chucked that rule and gone all-out on Meltzer’s series.

Musings on Batman

July 23, 2008

So a little movie opened this weekend.  You maybe heard about it.  It’s about knights or nights, or something.  There’s something about the dark in there, I remember that much.

No, but seriously, “The Dark Knight” is out, and it’s clearly going to be the biggest movie of the year.  Haven’t seen it yet myself — hope to soon — but I’ve followed the production and the press surrounding it enough to know what kind of movie it’s going to be.  I can tell you two things with absolute certainty: it’s going to be really good.  And it’s going to be really dark.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.  Batman was created as a dark character, he’s been written that way pretty consistently for the last twenty years or so, and he’s been portrayed that way in media since Tim Burton’s movie in ’89.  These days it seems like you can’t play Batman in movies or on TV, even in animation, unless your voice causes grown men to crap their pants with fear.

But my favourite Batman in movies or TV is Kevin Conroy, and he didn’t always play it that way.  Conroy’s Bruce Wayne was haunted and brooding, yes, but he was human.  Especially by the time the Justice League series rolled around, Conroy’s voice had evolved to the point where he didn’t sound like a gruff, growling loner, but rather a man — a hard-ass, maybe, but it never sounded like a put-on or an act.  Conroy’s Batman was a real person first, and a quote-unquote dark avenger second.

Christian Bale’s Batman, by comparison, barely sounds recognizable as a human being.

 

I’m reminded of these things as I see new promo art for the upcoming Batman: Brave And The Bold cartoon.  It promises to feature a kinder, more kid-friendly Batman, and the art style certainly seems to bear that out.  While I haven’t checked the message boards to see what fans are saying about the series, I would bet that very few of their comments could be repeated in polite company.  “Batman has to be dark!”, they would shout!  “He’s supposed to be a bad-ass!  He shouldn’t be nice to people!”

Maybe.

But this is the attitude DC Comics adopted for a while, and they eventually thought the better of it.  DC Comics superheroes — the big guns especially — need to represent the best of ourselves.  They need to inspire us, to make us want to better ourselves.  They should make kids want to become good, moral people that give of themselves and help others.  They’re our modern mythology, and myths are supposed to teach us things about our own lives and help us live them in better ways, after all.

I can’t see Christian Bale’s Batman accomplishing that, can you?

I’m reminded of what Denny O’Neil has often said about Batman: there have been many different versions of Batman, and all of them are correct.  Batman reinvents himself with every decade because he, like Superman, like Wonder Woman, needs to speak to all of us, now, in the present.  Every generations of kids needs their own version.  My dad had the George Reeves Superman, I had Christopher Reeve, today’s kids have Brandon Routh.  My dad had Adam West, I had Kevin Conroy, and today’s kids should be allowed to have Batman: Brave And The Bold.

If you try to shove the entirety of Batman into the square hole of the violent, vicious vigilante, you’re doing a huge disservice to a hugely important character.  If a kid wants to laugh with Batman a little, I think we should let him.

Even Bob Kane knew that Batman needs to smile.