|[ ATTACK OF THE BAT-BARGAIN ]|
To QUOTE Winston Churchill: 'We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us'.
Now on the whole I'd say this issue of Batman works on many different levels. On one level it's a morality-tale of times past: Set during the era directly preceding Zero Year. On another level it's a fairly linear murder-mystery: Chronicling how Batman tries to investigate the death of a young boy, found dead in the middle of the Marshes. And on yet another level it's a sociopolitical piece: Depicting how certain circumstances and environmental issues can effect someone's life choices.
Well. Let's face it. For those of us who live in the real world -- and you know who you are -- more or less we are a product of the society we live in, and sometimes what we do is a basic cause and effect of what we've learnt from our parents, our homes, our upbringing, and those people we choose to surround ourselves with. Sometimes this can work to our advantage and sometimes this can work to our detriment (as seen in this issue). But more importantly than this, however, is how we -- as people, and as human beings -- behave that matters the most. If we purposely try to be good, and try to surround ourselves with good people, touch wood, fingers crossed, good things should happen to us. Yet if we are a good person who mistakenly surrounds ourselves with bad people, well, the opposite is also true.
Batman, what did I think about it, eh? Did I like it? Did I hate it? Did I think Brian and Scott used it to stand on their respective soap-boxes? Or did I think Jock used it as a way of scratching out his name in comic book form? Well, to be honest with you, dear reader, I loved it. Regardless of what some people might think about the liberal undertones this story-line ultimately conveyed, all in all this was one hell of a cracking detective story first, political statement second.
In each scene, piece by piece, we see Batman following a trail of clues and interviewing a number of suspects, along the way figuring out how a kid ended up dead in the middle of nowhere. Plus to make matters sweeter still, Jock's stark Tim-Burton-like visuals really did aide the mood of Brian's and Scott's story: As it was always moving, always evolving, and it always made us think about Batman, society, plus how the times we live in can effect what we do and why we want to do it.
I also enjoyed the twist nearing its end as well. But I don't want to mention that, otherwise I might spoil how this stand-alone story links back to Scott's present day tale. Wink-Wink!
Now if this tale did have a bad side, I'd say that this bad side would be due to its tonal departure in relation to the previous months installments. Not that this is a bad-bad thing mind you. It's just that it did take me a bit of time to come to grips with this story's tonal and 'urban' approach at saying what it wanted to say.
For this months musical match-up I'd like to partner this urban-toned murder-mystery to something else that's both urban and mysterious. The theme tune to BBC's Sherlock.
No. Don't worry. I won't compare this comic book to anything else Sherlock Holmes related. What I want to do instead is to compare it to someone following a sneaky trail: Like a mouse following the scent left by a piece of cheese.
As you may have gathered from reading my review -- and yes, it was a review -- by in large I feel we all can learn a lot by what this story presented to us. But, prey tell, what do you think Batman learnt from it? Apart from investigating a death of a young boy, what else do you think the Caped Crusader learnt from this adventure? How about something like...
- Whoever smelt it, dealt it.
- Prostitutes have concessions for coach-party's.
- A bird in the hand is worth a kick in the teeth.
- Never eat yellow snow. It has a bitter aftertaste.
- Wearing fancy dress isn't only for Halloween, it's for life.
- Taking drugs is more expensive than meeting a politician.
- If you get to know your city, your city will try to get to know you.
- Saying 'Yo' a lot doesn't make you street-smart.