Batman Kicks the Bucket Again


Detective Comics #853

DC Comics sure does love killing their most popular character, don’t they?

It’s the second part of “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert. (Part I came out waaaaaay back in February.) In this issue, we continue the strange funeral of Batman, attended by his friends and foes, telling stories — always wildly contradictory — about how the Dark Knight died, while a mysterious woman keeps Batman company. We get stories from the Joker, the Mad Hatter, the Golden Age Batgirl, Robin, Clayface, Harvey Bullock, Ra’s al Ghul, and even Superman. And finally, Batman realizes that he’s not dead… but he is dying. How is the woman accompanying him going to help him? What secrets will she reveal? Is there an escape from the other side of the grave?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A strange, fun, bittersweet story, perfectly designed for Gaiman’s strengths as a storyteller. And Kubert was a great match for this story — his artistic style makes the whole thing look modern, gritty, and classic all at the same time, where a popular, more glossy artist would’ve killed the mood. If you didn’t get a chance to read the first part of this story, you might wait to see if DC is going to put out a collected paperback of this story, to go with the paperbacks of Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”


Astro City: The Dark Age, Book Three #1

Charles Williams, former cop, and Royal Williams, current hoodlum, are on the trail of the man who killed their parents many years ago during a superhero battle. But now it’s 1982, in the midst of the darkest period of Astro City’s history. No one trusts superheroes, and the superheroes don’t care much about the people of the city either. We get to see the debut of the new Cleopatra as she helps defeat a villain called the Hellsignor, then we follow Royal, undercover as a henchman at a training camp for the evil Pyramid organization. He’s able to avoid the indoctrination treatments as he tries to track down his parents’ killer. But will he be able to continue his investigation when the authorities raid the camp — and when he learns that Pyramid suspects his treachery?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s been a long time since the last issue of this one, but I’d forgotten how much I liked the Williams brothers. The Pyramid stuff is a nice glimpse into the world of the Hydra/Cobra-style organizations. As always, Kurt Busiek brings a great story and excellent dialogue, and Brent Anderson provides the excellent artwork we’ve come to expect from him.

No Comments

  1. swampy Said,

    May 14, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

    I love Astro City and hate it when they are late.