Friday, August 5, 2011

Comics of the Week

It's official. The best book of the Flashpoint tie ins, by far, was Batman Knight of Vengeance. If I had any complaint about this mini series, it would be that it could have maybe used one more issue, but that's really just maybe. This issue wrapped up what is basically the story of two parents who lost a child and dealt with it in different, horrifying ways. In the end, it's a metaphor for some very real issues and that's where the power of this lies. Sure, on one level Azzarello and Risso give us a gritty Batman story, but, really it doesn't have to be Batman at all. It could easily just be any two parents.The creepy factor in this issue comes mostly from the recognition that these are human beings. Where the Joker in regular continuity is best when he's least explained, here the origin gave the story depth. The flashback panels of the Waynes in Crime Alley capture the desperation and horror of losing a child while perfectly illustrating how each parent will be dealing with the loss. By the time we get to the end, where the Flashpoint part of this comes into play (if only slightly), Martha's reaction is just perfect. There's no happy ending to this story in any universe.

Severed #1 is the beginning of something that I think could be as big as Walking Dead. That might sound like a huge exaggeration based on one issue, where, to be honest, not a lot happens, but what is evident in this book is an attention to detail that is setting up a mood, a time and a place in a way that few books do or can. Scott Snyder (yeah, him again) and Scott Tuft are in no hurry to give us big scares and gore. Instead, they are meticulously setting up the characters and putting us in the middle of life in 1916 America in a way that is not glamorized at all. And what they do with the writing is carefully supported by Attila Futaki's art. Like the best horror movies, even when nothing is happening, you feel tension from the way even the most mundane images are composed. The slightly off balance frames make every page ominous in subliminal ways that emphasize the danger of a boy heading out to be a hobo and ride the rails. This is horror done right.

1 comment:

  1. Gerry,
    Home run! I agree with virtualy everyone of your points. Definitely the best Flashpoint mini, great twist on the legend, accurate portrayal of emotions, and they nailed the ending. Martha as the Joker! Wow! I don't know what creeps me out more, seeing her with that hideous "cut-smile", or the fact that Brian thought of it.

    I found your review of Severed to be spot-on as well. The art is well suited to the story telling, and very evocative of the time period. As you said, the plot didn't progress much, but the mood is definitely set. I'm looking forward to issue #2.