Friday, April 3, 2009

batman: nine lives

Batman: Nine Lives

Another superb Batman comic to restore my faith in the genre. This is an Elseworlds production which, as it says,
In Elseworlds, heroes are taken from their usual settings
and put into strange times and places—some that have existed,
and others that can’t, couldn’t, or shouldn’t exist.
The result is stories that make characters who are as familiar
as yesterday seem as fresh as tomorrow.

Nine Lives is wonderfully styled by Michael Lark. It not only brings Batman back to its roots in the ‘40s as a sort of hardboiled detective story from the point of view of the “pretty boy” private eye Grayson. It doesn’t shirk from making huge leaps from the source material. The idea that Selina Kyle is sleeping with the Robin character, Bruce Wayne, the Penguin, the Riddler character, and even the Joker simultaneously boggles and might shock pedants. Bruce Wayne is a bit seedy (though Batman’s morality isn’t questioned), Mister Freeze is the Penguin’s bodyguard, Harvey Dent is a corrupt lawyer (never allowed to be the White Knight), and because it’s Elseworlds, beloved characters can be killed off (and are). Because the story is told from the point of view of Grayson the detective, there are some moments for reflection. “That night, I began to appreciate Wayne’s misanthropy. To him everyone was an enemy of one kind or another.”

But really, my review can’t convey the style of the art and the cleverness of Dean Motter’s writing. Read it; love it.

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