Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?

February 11th, 2009 by | Tags: , , ,

In the first part of Neil Gaiman’s Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader, two disembodied voices discuss Batman’s funeral.  One of them is, apparently, Batman.  The other is an unknown guide.  Given the fact that I’d burned out on the hallucinogenic tone of much of Batman RIP I expected to dislike this story.

I have to say, I dig it.  The overall playfulness of the story makes it work. 

First there are the weird, funny little messages in the art, such as a giant typewriter billboard with the slogan, “Don’t Type It . . . Finger it!”  There’s the fact that Two-Face drives around in a half-trashed car.  There’s Batman, in the coffin, in his full uniform.  There’s the ridiculous cat mask that Selina wears when she and Batman fight during  a flashback.

I also like the different eras and obvious lack of continuity of the story.  It reminds me of the Legends of the Dark Knightseries, in which any nutty thing could happen, from Batman starring in a vampire version of Sunset Boulevard to a supervillain a fashion show.

Of course the fact that the entire tone of the story is funereal puts a damper on my spirits, but overall I enjoyed Gaiman’s take on the Batverse.  It’ll be interesting to see how he makes sense of the situation he sets up, but if he’s up to that challenge this could be a more memorable Bat-story than several of past few years’ big events.

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2 comments to “Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?”

  1. I have to give credit to Kubert here. Small jokes like “Aparo Bridge” and “Dew Drop Inn” in the art had me giggling. The subtle nuances in the multiple versions of Selina, Alfred and Joker made me go and reread the story again and again. He’s usually not an artist I look forward to (as his women seem to look like each other, see Selina here and any X-woman in the 90’s), but when he’s good, he’s god.

    Gaiman’s name attached always sells me on a product. This is completely against my expectations of what a Batman story is, but I love it. This was a fun story and I’m eagerly awaiting part 2. Gaiman’s Batman TPB in June is already on my wishlist.

  2. @MarkPoa: True, true. Kubert deserves a lot of credit. I also loved the sketches at the back.