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To QUOTE Erma Bombeck: 'There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt'.
This is it, bat-fans. This is the climatic battle we've all been waiting to see: Batman verses the Joker. But please be warned, their encounter together does involve heroes, villains, red-herrings, drastic corneal surgery, spelunking, a make-over with a batarang, a cave, plus people finding a cure, loosing a cure, and saving a cure so
can... no! I've said too much already. So if you really want to know
what went down in this issue, I'd advise you to pick it up, or alternatively,
pick up the next one and guess an awful lot.
Not the end. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.
The first thing I said to myself after reading this issue, was, 'F*ck'. Honest to God, dear reader. This profanity just leapt out of my mouth because this story is, with all due respect, a f*cking brilliant story that messed up my head by taking me on a journey from the fighting streets of
to a fight between
and the Joker in a cave. Batman
Well! It had to end with those two, didn't it? It just had to. Scott and Greg had no other choice but to end this adventure with those two kicking the crap out of each other, and in so doing, tease us with a couple of revelations and conclusions I'm personally not a hundred percent sure of.
On the one hand, the twist with Dick Grayson was a blast (never saw that coming), plus I did like the strange way Bruce acted before he passed out (Ouch! That must have pissed the Joker right off). What's more, Greg's moody art-work aided the stark ambience of this piece, and it was complemented with green tints, blue hues, and a mono-tonal color-palette that hit home how dramatic their confrontation would be (The Pale Man my ass!).
On the other hand, however...
.... I suppose the only real problem I had with this issue would be the idea that the Joker knows Batman's real identity. Well, it doesn't feel right, does it? Mister J knowing who Mister B is, and managing to take him on, one on one. It's like Jim Gordon unveiling to Bruce that he knows who he is whilst kicking him in the nuts. Or for that matter, the whole of
Granted, on occasion this sort of revelation can sometimes aide the development of a character, and show him or her in a more revealing light (as seen in the pages of Daredevil). Yet, in Batman's case, err, no. It just doesn't feel right. And I can't see how it'll help his association with the Joker in the years to come. That's if... errrr... methinks I'll leave my other complaint about this comic for my conclusion.
Now when I was coming up with a musical comparison for this tale, I said to myself, 'I need to pick a song that's both tragic in composition and lively in spirit'. So, after a moments thought, I skipped the Bee Gee's version of 'Tragedy', and went with Step's version instead.
Yes. It is tragic in more ways than one.
I'm pretty damn sure some of you know what I'm going to compare this comic book to if you've read the third part of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Yes. That's correct. I'm going to compare it to the aforementioned Frank Miller opus. And, my God, if you haven't read this book, what in hell is wrong with you? For that matter, what is wrong with me?
Oh yeah. My medication. I need to take my medication.
Now if you haven't read this concluding chapter yet, please, I'd advise you to click away now or else I may spoil it's ending.
OK. So that just leaves the rest of us. Us poor unfortunate soul's who saw what happened to Bruce in this very issue. Poor-poor, Bruce. Poor-poor us as well.
Well, let's face it. Even though I loved the art, loved the story, and loved the dramatic tone of this tale, at the end of the day we all know what's going to happen next. We're going to have to sit through another years worth of a Bruce-less Batman, and try to figure out who's behind the cowl (JG?), what's happened to Bruce and the Joker (spelunking?), plus, lets not forget, their eventual return, yadda-yadda-yadda.
OK. I must admit. A large portion of my rant does have something to do with how many Batman stories I've read throughout the years, and how many times I've seen these resurrection type scenarios played out one after the other after the other. That being said, their is another part of me that really enjoyed what Scott and Greg has done with this book and what they're trying to do with its characters. Alfred hand-less. Bruce nowhere to be seen. The same thing for Messiah J. And also Alfred's daughter, Julia. All of them intriguing additions to a tale that kind of defined what Bruce represents to the now generation!
A poor tragic figure who spirituality died when his parents were killed, and will never get over it no matter what he accomplishes.
Or does it? Nuff said.