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Batman: The Widening Gyre (Issue 1)

DC

Written by Kevin Smith; Art by Walter Flanagan and Art Thibert; Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz

Sep 17, 2009 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Kevin Smith (yes, that Kevin Smith) is at it again, writing comic books. We’ve seen his well-received takes on Daredevil and Green Arrow and the somewhat mixed reactions to the recently collected Batman: Cacophony, with Walter Flanagan on the art chores. Smith and Flanagan have reunited for Batman: The Widening Gyre, a six-issue limited series that just kicked off.

In the first issue, Smith deftly uses an astounding number of the tools in Batman’s storytelling “utility belt.” We have a priceless flashback with Robin (money shot: Boy Wonder taunts Nazi bad guy while wearing a yarmulke, Torah scroll in hand). We have a story littered with cameos from Batman’s classic rogues gallery. We have the Batboat, for crying out loud. A Poison Ivy characterized so wonderfully insane, and lushly drawn to match, that you can almost smell her blooming. And then comes in Etrigan, the Demon, the classic DC Comics character created by Jack Kirby.

Batman solo stories are typically best when they stick to the street-level/Batman-as-urban-myth paradigm. When he’s in a team-up title, sure, great stories are told. But there’s a reason that you don’t typically see Batman fight the likes of Reverse Flash, Sinestro, and Bizarro in a solo book. Four-color superheroics don’t fit the mood, modus operandi, or mission. Mostly normal-yet-demented people in clown makeup murdering the masses via poison gas? Yeah. This best practice is only mentioned because Smith’s use of the ultra-powerful hellspawn is deft, frightening, and effective.

It’s far too early to call a shot and predict that The Widening Gyre will be a seminal Batman tale that can stand alongside the likes of Dark Knight Returns or Year One. But the able invocation of almost everything that’s cool about Batman in The Widening Gyre sure inspires optimism. (www.dccomics.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 2/10



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poisoning symptoms
December 14th 2009
1:16pm

Nice book, nice author