First thing’s first: it has recently come to my attention that those of our readers who don’t have hillybilly folk in their bloodline may not be familiar with my bourbon of choice. Wild Turkey 101 is a 50.5% alcohol Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. This spirit comes with the kind of bite you would expect from any 101 proof liquor, but it balances that with a rich, oaky-vanilla flavor and is surprisngly sippable. It’s great on the rocks or with a splash of water, and it also comes in a cheaper and more polite 80 proof version. It certainly isn’t the best bourbon, but I’d take it over Jack Daniels any day of the week, and for my money
it’s just as good as Maker’s Mark. Now on to the comics.
Mr. Andrew Dale, the creator and spiritual leader behind this blog, recently invited me to be a regular contributor. I guess he knows I’m both a lush and a comic nerd myself. We met for an outing at the Source Comics and Games a couple weeks ago with our buddy Matthew Sharktrain, and the final issue of DC’s new Batman Black and White mini-series was one of the two comics I walked away with. This review is kinda like my Issue #0.
This is an impressive compilation of Batman stories. Couldn’t you tell by Bat’s evil scowl on the cover? I paired it with Wild Turkey 101 on the rocks, mostly because it was the only booze I had in the house, but we’ll say the unadulterated burn of the bourbon goes well with this comic’s stripped down (but no less striking) art. The issue balances five stories which all highlight often overlooked aspects of Batman mythology. I bought it for Olly Moss and Becky Cloonan’s “Bruce,” which opens with “mystery blonde” Ms. Price’s “walk-of-shame” from Wayne Manor after a one-night-stand. Cloonan’s art keeps the story relevant and dramatic: her style feels fresh in the Batman universe and is more expressive than dialogue or narration ever could be. Moss and Cloonan touch on Batman’s sadistic side by highlighting his lust for crime fighting and juxtaposing it with the womanizing implicit in the mask of “billionaire playboy.”
Other standouts in this issue are Adam Hughes’ “She Lies at Midnite” and Dave Johnson’s “To Beat the Bat.” Both stories again deal with comic book portrayals of women. Hughes’ also highlights Batman’s sadistic side, this time by playing off his feelings for Selina Kyle and Barbera Gordon. Does Batman really care about these women, or is he more concerned with revenge? “To Beat the Bat” is problematic in its portrayal of the story’s only female character, but its final question is compelling: how many criminals are truly brave enough to face the Bat? The story is all the more powerful for leaving the answer to that question (and how it might weigh on Batman’s conscience) up to the reader.
Up Next: The Sandman Overture #1!