Sunday, November 14, 2010

Batman: Dark Allegiances

I haven't bought any Howard Chaykin books since he was such an @$$ to me a couple years ago in Charlotte at Heroes Con, but I was recently flipping through my bookshelf Batman titles and figured I'd give some a re-read.

Chaykin's Elseworld story is set in pre-WWII America, with all the normal bat-characters involved, but everyone's a bit different. Penguin, Two-Face, Joker, and Catwoman all appear, but they have different names and more "realistic" looks. They aren't super-criminals, they're all fascists out to destroy America. Batman is an industrialist out to clean up the streets and enjoy himself.

Chaykin can't resist smutting things up a bit, so of course Catwoman has a dirty past. There are multiple references made to "stag reels" in her past where she acted inappropriately with both multiple men and a dog. I don't think it is really necessary, but just about everyone in Chaykin stories is depraved in one way or another. I liked the alternate take on Penguin as a Hollywood producer, and Two Face is neat as a Senator with a face for radio, but Joker gets lost in the shuffle as the leader of a gang of fascists. In the end, the plot gets foiled by Batman and Catwoman. It's not really much of a challenge, the bad guys are simply outmatched by the power couple.

Chaykin's art is pretty fun. The brown and black batsuit looks great, and the idea of a big solid helmet for the mask looks great. Chaykin incorporates a bunch of fun variations into the bat mythos like glider wings, a new batmobile, and a rolling batcave on a train car.


1 comment:

Felicity Walker said...

This comic is one of my favourite Chaykin comics. Cool story, great art, and he was able to get Ken Bruzenak for letterist IIRC.

What happened between you and him? FWIW I've met him at two conventions and found him very nice.