Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Batman: Dark Knight: Mad HC

Guys, I've read a lot of Batman comics. A lot. I've been reading them for 30-some years.

And I think this might be the worst Batman comic I've ever read.

I'm tempted to just give you a list of the neck-snapping, head shooting, mass drowning, body-dropping violence. Or I could describe the massive beatings, jaw-breaking punches, or psychological torture that Batman ACTUALLY CARRIES OUT on his foes. Or I could list the silly puns and nicknames that Gregg Hurwitz has Batman and Alfred use with each other.

Or would you like to hear about the "one true love" that Bruce Wayne finds in this book? The woman who is going to change everything. Make him retire into happiness? Oh wait, she dies an awful, tortured death and has her body thrown out of a helicopter onto the Bat symbol. But wasn't it dramatic? Don't you love seeing Batman re-dedicated to his grim, dark task?

Or maybe the villain? The Mad Hatter? Did you know that he's super strong because of special teas now? Or did you know that he has Scarecrow-like "fear tea" that can cause identical problems for the Batman? (Identical even down to the type of hallucination suffered by our Dark Knight.) Rubbish.

This is about as new 52 as anyone could ever want. There is not a single relatable character in this entire story. (Maybe Alfred. Maybe.) Both Hurwitz's story and the art take great joy in each tearing bit of muscle, each bit of brain blown out, or in the HUNDREDS of drowned corpses slopping through the sewers of Gotham. This is a mean-spirited, petty comic. Even for a book based on revenge, this is too much. I don't want to read about a world so dark that Gotham PD has to fish men, women and children off the shores of Gotham after they drown themselves.

I've read and enjoyed other comics by Gregg Hurwitz. I don't get it! His Moon Knight was great! His Punisher was satisfying! How could that same guy write this???

Ethan Van Sciver's art is as detailed as ever. Each hanging bit of jaw tissue is visible after Batman pulverizes Tweedle Dee's jaw. When hallucinating, I can practically pick out each piano key sticking out of Batman's girlfriend's torn flesh. The other artist? Szymon Kudranski? Things happen in his chapters too, but I'm afraid I can't tell you what. The art was incomprehensible to me.

I jokingly judge comics either "Good" or "Evil" on this blog. When I call this one "Evil" I might not be joking.

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