Batman: Night Cries

Batman: Night Cries
Batman: Night Cries

I have just read a graphic novel called “Batman: Night Cries“. This DC Comc’s book that I found the other week at a local used book store was written by Archie Goodwin with art done by Scott Hampton. It uses the graphic book format to spread awareness of child abuse. I can’t help but feel like it falls short in it’s attempt.

The reality is that Batman fans know that he is not out fighting the Joker every night or trading battles of intellect with the Riddler. In between these epic battles, he is fighting everyday crime. Muggings, robberies, vandalism, to name a few.

Night Cries tries to show this with a  child abuse story, and falls short. It falls short because the story feels like it’s trying so hard to get the message out that child abuse is a bigger issue then we all realize. Because of this it takes away from this being batman story and ends up feeling more like a Public Service Announcement. In-fact, Scott Hampton’s art work was the only thing keeping me turning the page at one point.

The book also contains a subplot involving Commissioner Gordon having been abused himself as a child. This gave the book multiple child abuse stories and presented us with a different look at Commissioner Gordon that has never been told in past comics or since. It only adds to making the story that much harder to accept.

You can pass on this book.

Superman: Red Son – Book Review

Superman: Red Son Cover
Superman: Red Son Cover

What would have happened if the rocket ship carrying the child Superman had left Krypton just twelve hours later? Because of the Earth’s rotation, Superman would have landed in the Soviet Union‘s Ukraine region. Rather than fighting for truth, justice, and the American Way, Superman is described as the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.

At least that is the theory behind the DC Comic’s, Superman: Red Son. The result is a very different world then we are used to thinking about in regards to Superman comic books.

This was a great read. I really enjoyed it cover to cover.

Kingdom Come Review

This last weekend I finished reading “Kingdom Come“. Which is a comic book mini-series that takes place in the future with an aged Superman and Batman. The story is great and the art is nothing short of amazing. I have been reading a lot of these comic mini-series lately and so far have enjoyed them all.

Kingdom Come is a four-issue comic book mini-series published in 1996 by DC Comics. It was written by Mark Waid and painted by Alex Ross, who also developed the concept from an original idea. Set some 20 years into the future of the then-current DC Universe, it deals with a growing conflict between “traditional” superheroes, such as Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League, and a growing population of largely amoral and dangerously irresponsible new vigilantes. Between these two groups is Batman and his assembled team, who attempt to contain the escalating disaster, foil the machinations of Lex Luthor, and prevent a world-ending superhuman war.

I think of this story as a big “What if” story. It’s wroth the time to pick it up and read it. I would like to talk about it in more detail. I am just worried about ruining it for people who have not read it yet. But it’s a good book and if you get the chance I hope everyone will read it.

The comic dose such a good job of letting the reader know each characters personality as well as their abilities. Even if you don’t the back story of each character, the book dose such a good job of making you feel like you do from page one.

Watchmen Book Review

I recently finished reading the “Watchmen” graphic novel. It was written by Alan More, with artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins and came out between 1986 and 1987 as a 12 issue comic book by DC Comics.

I wanted to read the Watchmen because of the movie coming out based on the graphic novel. I found most of the book very difficult to read. It’s a very wordy book with less action then your average Batman comic book would have.

Along the way of reading Watchmen, I found through out the book supplemental fictional documents about characters, or just random back story elements that really did help me tie the whole Watchmen story together. Things like this in a graphic novel really do separate it from all the others on the book shelf.

The whole thing for me really didn’t pull it’s self together till the very, very end. It truly was a mind fuck that you don’t see coming. I found myself suddenly pulled into the story and mentally putting all the mixed up pieces together. The closest thing I can compare this book to is the movie “Unbreakable“.

Watchmen is set in an alternate reality which closely mirrors the contemporary world of the 1980s. The primary point of divergence is the presence of superheroes. Their existence in this iteration of America is shown to have dramatically affected and altered the outcomes of real-world events such as the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon. In keeping with the realism of the series, although the costumed crime fighters of and the presidency of Watchmen are commonly called “superheroes”, the only character in the principal cast who possesses obvious superhuman powers is Doctor Manhattan. The existence of Doctor Manhattan has given the U.S. a strategic advantage over the Soviet Union, which has increased tensions between the nations. Additionally, superheroes have become unpopular among the public, which has led to the passage of legislation in 1977 to outlaw them. While many of the heroes retired, Doctor Manhattan and the Comedian operate as government-sanctioned agents, and Rorschach continues to operate outside of the law.