Monday, December 11, 2006

Confidential

After two issues of Superman Confidential, I can safely say that it is totally awesome. I knew there was no chance that a Darwyn Cooke/Tim Sale team-up would suck. My stance on re-visiting the early years of super heroes is that they are good for both new readers and hardcore fans. Especially at a time where DC's biggest heroes are returning to the screen, it's good to welcome potential fans who may feel intimidated by comic books. Because, let's face it, getting into comics is daunting. Superman: Birthright was a smart thing for DC to release at a time where Smallville, a fantastic marketing tool for reaching a new generation of potential comic book readers (in particular, female comic book readers), was one of the most popular teen shows on television. And the Confidential series are smart things to start up after the popularity of Batman Begins and Superman Returns.

So anyway. Superman Confidential is great. Cooke's retro story telling compliments Sale's retro artwork nicely. Superman is just plain adorable in this series. I think the below page illustrates that better than any (just after Superman finishes a potentially life-threatening battle with a volcano that leaves him a little shaken):

Awwwww. Man, that's the cutest Superman I've ever seen.

Moving on. Batman Confidential is looking pretty terrible so far. It's supposed to replace Legends of the Dark Knight, which is kind of too bad because that series was a lot of fun. A real mouthful, but a lot of fun.

And why is it that we can't get a decent Batman series off the ground? All-Star Superman totally rules. All-Star Batman and Robin...well. You know. Kind of the worst thing in comic book history. And I am counting that comic where Superman teamed up with the Quik Bunny.

Let's have a look at Batman Confidential:

Aaaaaaahhhhh!!! That's not Bruce Wayne! THAT'S NOT BRUCE WAYNE!!! That's Steve Buscemi. If he were kept in a jar of vinegar for seven months. Jesus lord...

Now I have to look at some panels from Dave Gibbons' Worlds Finest book to get that image out of my mind.
Ahhh. Now there's some cute Batman. Look at the way he kneels on that chair! And the way he buckles his belt! Adorable!

In Batman: Confidential Bruce is also shown handling the gun that killed his parents. He explains to Alfred (and to me, since I wondered about it while reading stupid, stupid Batman: Year Two) that he got if from the police after they were done using as evidence. Right.

The other thing that separates the Superman and Batman Confidentials, besides good writing and good art, is that the Superman story is about something interesting. It's going to be Superman's first encounter with Kryptonite. I like it. Batman's story is...wait for it...how he got all his gadgets. My guess: WayneTech. I mean, really, however did a billionaire scientist end up with all those cool toys? I can't imagine.

I also like that Superman is set in what looks something like the past. Whereas Batman seems to be set in the future. And that's just confusing. If one of the goals of these series is to attract new readers, and I think it should be, then maybe you should make the story make as much sense as possible. And maybe make it not suck.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I knew Cooke/Sale is too good a combo to screw Superman up. The TPB it is!

A little disappointed to hear about Batman Confidential though. I had some misgivings about the art but I'm a fan of Andy Diggle's work on The Losers and Adam Strange. And it was my understanding that the opening arc is about Batman's first meeting with Lex Luthor.

rachelle said...

Well, yeah. It's about that too. But it still isn't good.

For a good meeting between Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor, see Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #3.

I just find the writing in Batman Confidential to be more of the same old. Nothing new or interesting.

Anonymous said...

The thing that killed Batman Confidential for me (besides the art) was all the damn Milleresque dialog. Those short, clipped, tough-guy bits and the "My city. It screams to me." crap that only worked with a grizzled old Bruce Wayne in DKR and really never again afterwards. With that art and dialog it seemed like Clint Eastwood was dressing up like Batman, and no... just no.

rachelle said...

Exactly, Penguin. And it doesn't help that Batman has stubble. That's just overkill. And it's especially ridiculous when Bruce Wayne is clean-shaven in the same comic (see All-Star B&R).

Anonymous said...

can you spot batman's bare foot?

ps. ew?

-steph

Johnathan said...

If Batman were an actor, he'd be typecast. He can be tough and mean, or he can be tougher and meaner, and that's it.

He can't make a joke without everybody yelling 'Batman made a joke!' And he can't have a non-painful emotional experience without a lot of soul-searching and guilt. It's getting so he's one of those characters that requires a lot of skill to write, even though he doesn't have to be.

"My paaarenntts are dead!"

Anonymous said...

Superman looks like John Cleese, minus mustache :S

Ben said...

It seems to be a problem in recent years for writers to write a comic book set in the past without writing it as though it takes place right now. They just love to pepper their work with up-to-date slang and poppity cultural references. I can understand why a new story of Spidey's early days is no longer set in 1964, but it must have happened before this year. In conclusion, most people are dumb as horsenuts.

rachelle said...

I think all Year One stories should be set in the mid-70s. With lots of jive talkin'. And everyone should have an afro (Lois, James Gordon, Red Tornado, Aunt May...everyone). And medallions.

Johnathan said...

Has the Joker ever been pictured with an afro?
Because I for one would like to see that.

Anonymous said...

That Batman Confidental page is made all the more terrifying by the fact that it sort of looks like Alfred is undoing his pants instead of tugging down his vest...