Friday, December 26, 2008

Battle for the Cowl


Even during Klordny, one cannot dance for a week non-stop (even with the assistance of anti-grav discs). So, those of you who actually read blogs at home (instead of while you are *ahem* "working") I ask to consider the teaser image for Battle for the Cowl.

I have to say, I like teaser images. Sure, they're deceptive and usually much shallower than the analysis we fans lavish on them. Sure, they sometimes look like someone photoshopped them together rather than drew them as an integral image. Sure, they scream "use me as your desktop wallpaper."

But they are so very DC. They are intellectual puzzles, firmly rooted in DC's genre of detective comics. While Marvel trumpets, DC intrigues. Marvel is a monster truck rally commercial and DC a symbolic Renaissance painting.

They reaffirm the DC style of using art to tell a story, not to substitute for one. DC's use of teaser images are a clever adaptation to the new world of internet fandom. It's not the old days where readers had no idea what was coming until it hit the stands. DC's adapted to the fact that nowadays people know for months that something like Battle for the Cowl is coming, and gives us an intellectual chew-toy to keep us engaged while waiting for our literary dinner.

First, the easy part: identifying the Batmen themselves.
  • Tim "Robin" Drake, as indicated by the bo staff, wearing a '70s-ish Batcostume with the New Look chest symbol.
  • Dick "Nightwing" Grayson, as indicated by the chest-bat most resembling the Nightwing symbol.
  • Harvey "Two-Face" Dent, wearing a color-modified version of the Golden Age Batman suit.
  • Bandolier Batman there is the remaining one of the three cops who were tapped to replace Batman if he died (it was in the beginning part of Morrison's run on Batman, and a reference to a Silver Age story); this is guy who, wearing the Suit of Sorrows (*sigh*), will become the new Azrael.
  • Thomas "Hush" Eliott (who, if you've been reading Dini's Detective, you'll know had himself surgically altered to resemble Bruce Wayne), as indicated by the bandage.

Now it starts to get trickier. Our supporting characters are:
  • Harley Quinn. WTF? To me, this is the most unexpected piece of the puzzle. Probably the part they have Dini write.
  • Alfred Pennyworth. In all his "Yeah, sometimes writers say I used to be British secret agent" glory. The hat was a Christmas gift from Mademoiselle Marie.
  • Batwoman. Someone got Kate Kane sensible shoes for Hannukah!
  • Damien Head, Bruce's supposed child by Talia. And, yeah, I say "supposed", because, as I recall, Bruce never answered out loud Tim's question about what the paternity tests showed.
  • A corpse in a box marked Wayne Enterprises. A very small box. A box way too small to hold the corpse of any normal man, let alone Bruce Wayne. A corpse with a suspiciously feminine arm. Madame Van Dusen, LOL?

Already the questions accumulate. Whose is the corpse in the box? What role could Harley Quin have in the story? Does Batwoman's magnifying glass symbolize that she'll try to solve the myster of where the real Batman is? Aren't there an awful lot of guns there for a Batman family photo? Why is Two-Face covering the unscarred part of his face? Did Alfred amputate his lower body and replace it with a Tumbler? Who's overseeing crate quality at Wayne Enterprises, any way?

It only gets stranger when you take the background props into account. The case with Batman costume straigtforwardly represents the absent Bruce Wayne, of course, and the robot dinosaur is, well, it's there because it's in every Batcave establishing shot (even though almost no one else I've met has actually read the "Dinosaur Island" story it comes from). But the Joker card located near Harley Quinn... surely that "J" is reversed for some reason. And the Giant Penny behind Two-Face-- why, it's scarred just like his coin; hmm.

I certainly have some thoughts, but I'd rather hear yours first....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Things That Made Me Happy

... in my comics this week.

  • The BLAM door. Best visual I can remember seeing in quite some time.
  • You know I'm no great fan of Grant Morrison. But Batman was great this week.
  • Pinocchio. That was cruel.
  • Monarch of Duluth? Snort! Nice one.
  • What the lasso is truly capable of.
  • The comfort Ray finds in the Royal Flush Gang, who apparently are a multiversal constant.
  • Looking for Psycho? Oh... that's not good at all.
  • Shame of you, if you didn't recognize the name Elva Barr.
  • Stagg? Oh, no. No, no, no. Say it isn't so....
  • Bruce Lee didn't actually break his back, you know. He dislodged a vertebra.
  • Queen Bee goes down. All the way.
  • "The sun is not our friend. We must embrace the cold darkness that is our fate," made me laugh out loud.
  • If you want somebody to make something that'll kick the JLA's butt, T.O. Morrow is still the man.
  • Zeus in spandex is HOT.
  • "I need to see it every day."
  • The difference in viewpoint of Dr. Polaris, the Floronic Man, and the Cheetah.
  • Seldom has the Phantom Stranger me me laugh as hard as did when failing to finish his little "My poop don't stink" speech...!
  • Hooley in the tank. Always good to see Hooley. Particularly in the tank.