Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman - The Dark Knight #18

While Bruce walks through Gotham, spotting his ex (I believe) on the way, he speaks with Alfred over the phone about the plot of land that he lost the Hatter at last issue, and finds that there are no viable clues in the paperwork, as it's all tied up in Hatter's "company." Luckily enough, a local nightclub is also listed on the papers as being part of the ownership group, so Bruce figures that it's a good enough place as any to start looking for hatter.

Bruce finds Tweedledee inside the club, here's a sob story, but threatens him, while swiping his cellphone during the process. The phone ends up getting remotely wiped, but Bruce manages to use it and track it down to a warehouse near a cell tower it was connected to.

Inside the warehouse, Bruce finds some of Hatter's goons lugging crates, typical goon stuff, then kicks some ass. Inside the crates are an assortment of weapons and tea, which Bruce tests to find it's ingredients varying from batch to batch with different mood alternating formulas. Basically, Hatter has a tea for any type of mood that strikes him, and he also has a lead pipe, which he swings at Bruce's head.

When Bruce comes to, he leaves the warehouse and finds Catwoman on a nearby rooftop. Selina does some flirting, which isn't responded to by Bruce. She figures he may have found a "Mrs. Batman" and proclaims that their fun comes from not knowing each other, so on and so on.

Back to Hatter's childhood, turns out he was diagnosed with a testosterone deficiency, and essentially stopped growing. Hatter's parents took him to a doctor after he expressed not wanting to be left behind when all his friends were growing up, and was prescribed a potentially psychologically dangerous drug for his condition, but didn't take it yet... that's before his crush Alice told him she didn't like him "like that."

So, whatever Hatter's plans are, seem to be ready, and he goes off to fetch his Alice. At her house, he pays off her deadbeat looking husband to scram for an house, and find his alice... old, tired, smoking, and clearly a few kids deep. Long story short, she gives him a line about how he never grew up, Hatter trips balls on some tea, and then "frees" her by bludgeoning in her head with an iron.

Bruce then has a flashback to his parents, telling him that their only wish is that someone will come to know him, and he'll be able to share his life with them... of course this means he heads to his ex, Natalya's apartment, goes "Hey, check this out," jumps out her window onto the batwing's wing, flies her to the Batcave and goes "I'm Batman, baby!" ...well, he doesn't say that, but that's what he does.

Then finally, after Hatter freaks out a bit about his Alice being gone and needing to find a new one, then we see that Hatter did eventually take that drug as a child.


The Good: 

I don't know why, maybe it was the change in artist, but this book has a certain amount of really dry humor peppered in through out the issues now. The scene where Tweedledee gives a long winded sob story about Batman breaking his jaw, and how much it sucks, is quickly followed up by a single panel of Bruce looking empathetic, then followed by him going back into Batman mode and basically saying "OH YEAH!? Well too bad, next time I'll knock your jaw clean off!" It's such an asshole move, but so hilarious. Really loved that bit. Other than that, the arc continues to be a nice little Hatter story, somewhat like the animated series with all the cut aways and flashbacks. Hatter is suitably crazy, as well.

The Bad:

The Catwoman scene just felt out of place to me, that and EVS seemed to get a few details about the costume wrong, mainly the stripper boots and I think the cowl isn't supposed to have stuff under her eyes when she takes her goggles off... In fact, just looked at the latest JLA and, no, not there... Side note, I also REALLY miss the Hush developments of Bruce and Selina knowing who each other are. That, and because this is my blog fuck you, Catwoman is still a really bad book, but that doesn't factor in here... just wanted to say that, again.

Aside from that, as much as I enjoy crazy Hatter, his plan makes no sense. Him just offing his Alice came off as weird and abrupt. I'm struggling to figure out what the rest of this arc is going to be. I have ideas, and it pertains to Natalya becoming Hatter's new Alice, which I'm not wild about.

Speaking of Natalya... ugh. That whole scene just felt so out of character. I've expressed how I just don't care about her, and find Bruce's love interests to be WAY more compelling when it's with someone in his "world" like Selina or Talia, and this was just like rubbing salt into the wound. This was just one of those scenes that made me shake my head and let out a sign.

The Bottom Line:

This issue, like the arc as a whole, remains fine. There's some fun stuff, and there's some stuff I just don't dig. But at the end of the day, I can't fault this title for just doing it's own thing, and having fun with these classic villains. Don't get me wrong, the humor and ridiculous nature of the Hatter are really enjoyable, but some plot holes and personal developments I just don't agree with end up bogging it down a bit.


1 comment :

  1. I agree about Natalya, only because we both know that she's a throw away character. I know this won't happen because they've pretty much given us the new robin, but I thought it would refreshing and awesome to have Natalya be the next robin. It would break the mold on what the batman/robin relationship is and bring in a completely new perspective on it.