Well what with all the IT hilarity I don't know whether this will be here tomorrow but let's live for today and look at some Batman comics. That's what they mean, right, when they say live each day like there's no tomorrow, right? They mean read some Batman comics. I mean if people seriously lived life for the moment then there'd be no societal infrastructure and stuff would just never get done; you know what folk are like they would be be looting, murdering and rutting like dogs in the street. It'd be like a prison riot but the whole world would be the prison. Now I think about it, Live each day like there's no tomorrow is some pretty shitty advice. Um, it's very hot here today. Look...it's BATMAN! Well, Damian Son of Batman anyway. By Kubert, Anderson & Napolitano
Anyway, this... DAMIAN SON OF BATMAN #2, 3 & 4 Art by Andy Kubert Written by Andy Kubert Coloured by Brad Anderson Lettered by Nick Napolitano Cover by Andy Kubert & Brad Anderson Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger DC Comics $3.99 each (2014)
Due to the vagaries of my comics receipt system I only read three out of the four issues of this series so maybe the first issue totally set up some kind of scenario justifying what appeared to be a beautifully illustrated mish-mash of dream lucidity and bestial sadism. I quite liked the childish story logic; at one point Alfred keels over and dies and his spirit starts talking through the Batcave cat (Nanananananananana…Batcat!) without any explanation whatsoever. Damian Son of Batman is a flexible sort and takes this in his stride, being thereafter advised and supported by a talking cat hosting the spirit of Alfred Pennyworth; clearly a thing of great awesomeness.
A thing of considerably somewhat less awesomeness is the brutality of the book. This reaches a crescendo of idiocy when Damian Son of Batman goes to rescue Batman (Nanananananananana…Batdad!) from a Faux- Joker (Real Joker we are told being permanently indisposed) and Damian Son of Batman gets a tight grip on Faux-Joker’s sternum and pops him open like a big old taco filled with man guts. That splashy bit of magic is in service to what I guess is the point of the series: even under the greatest of duress Damian Son of Batman surprises himself and won’t cross that line (you know; That Line) and kill. This is slightly undermined by the fact that even a medical cretin like myself knows that Faux-Joker will die of shock or bleed out in about ten minutes. Luckily Real Joker (permanency not being what it was these days; this series truly makes no sense) shows up to shoot Faux-Joker in the head before this happens. Tah-dah! No Blood on Damian Son of Batman’s gloves. Totally not his fault. That’s some weaselly shit right there, folks! Yeah, I know that in the Golden Age Batman routinely used to saw people’s legs off and kick them around like a screaming football in front of an orphanage while giggling like a naughty schoolgirl, and yet I remain steadfast in my belief that asking why Batman doesn’t kill says more about the questioner than it does about any imaginary paper vigilante. But I guess I can see why people might wonder because I’m not sure if anyone knows what the point of Batman is anymore.
At the end of this comic a family are threatened at gunpoint and Batman saves them. Usually that’d be it but not here; here Batman only saves them after the mother has been shot in the head (in front of her kids; oh yeah, comics!). What? Yes men get killed but that's different (they're men). So, y’know, Batman saves some of them and the rest are doomed to a future of coping and trauma (but we don’t see that bit, that bit would be realistic but it’s not sexy like seeing a mother slaughtered in front of her children like she’s cattle is; that’s sexy time right there. Mothers shot in the head?; did it just get hot in here or is it me? I only came to read the meter! MiaoooW! Christ, put that thing away, I was being sarcastic. What the Hell is wrong with you people out there?) I guess that happens because it’d be unrealistic (childish, even) to expect Batman to save everyone. Realism of course being the core component of a series about a rich lunatic dressed as a bat solving problems with violence.
Seriously, the writing just shanks this whole thing so very, very badly and I was, I honestly was, predisposed to like this Why? Because Batman! A Kubert! Self-contained series! And because visually this series was right up my (crime) alley being a totally, outrageously opulent parade of images the sumptuousness of which distracted from any panel to panel failings or any slight suspicion that the detail sought to mask some basic structural problems. Even the colouring here is just crazy-good with subtle layering effects giving things almost an extra dimension and just a lovely, textured, pastelly finish to everything. It’s even printed on paper like they had back when you could hold open doors without being spat at. Paper! The kind of paper that if you pissed on it would absorb the piss rather than the piss just bouncing off and back at you like it
does might with that chemical shit most comics are printed on. That stuff’s paper like hot dogs are meat. I’m hiding it well so only my nearest and dearest could tell but I’ll come clean: the mix of the silly but fizzy verve of a Bob Haney and the thuggishly humourless carnage just fell flat for me. Like uncooked ground beef drizzled with Maple Syrup the combination of elements in Damian Son Of Batman was just a bad idea all round and was AWFUL!