Thursday, February 12, 2009

Batman #686

When DC Comics decided to reboot the Superman line of comics after the Crisis on Infinite Earths series, editor Julie Schwartz decided to do a "final" Superman story before he turned the franchise over to the new editing team.

I interviewed him at the time, and he talked about going to lunch with Alan Moore. He told Alan about his plan, and Julie claimed Alan grabbed him by the throat and threatened to kill him if he didn't let him write that story.

The result was the excellent two-part story, "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" It was a perfect endnote to the Golden and Silver Age Superman, and remains one of my all-time favorite comic stories.

Which leads us to the latest issue of Batman, where another outstanding British writer, Neil Gaiman, tackles a similar theme in a completely different way.

Spinning out of the Final Crisis series, we have "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" In it, Gaiman spins a story around the saddest of days - Batman's funeral. His friends and enemies show up to pay their respects and tell some unexpected and surprising stories.

The art is supplied by Andy Kubert with inks by Scott Williams, and as always, the work is outstanding. Here Kubert evokes some of the classic figures by some of the best Bat-artists ever.

The story ripples with nostalgia, elements of the Golden and Silver Ages, and evokes a dreamlike quality, re-imagining stories from an age gone by.

We only have half the story here, but it'll leave you begging for more, and wondering, "What did happen?"

Grade: A-

4 comments:

Evan Minsker said...

AAHHH! I NEED to get to the comic store today.

Chuck said...

Well, yeah.

Evan Minsker said...

Picked up this and the last issue of that Sandman miniseries at the same time. Both amazing reads. If only Neil Gaiman could stick with comics and cut it out with all that "actual book" nonsense.

Chuck said...

Evan, I agree. Gaiman's weakest work is better than the best most writers can manage. It would be nice to see more work from him, but at least he still does comics occasionally - I suppose we should be grateful for what we get.