Monday, March 7, 2011

Batman: physically spent, emotionally drained, but not without a sense of style

I recently picked up a copy of Batman #497, a significant issue in that it was the peak of the "Knightfall" storyline that left Bruce Wayne with a broken back and the book with a replacement Batman, at least for a little while.  The issue was, at the time, quite the headline grabber and part of DC's shakeup to try to revitalize its line (apparently by killing and mutilating some of its most recognizable characters).

The story itself is a blur as it speeds through its allotted 22 pages, and it features some classic art by Jim Aparo and Dick Giordano, two creators who have sadly and surprisingly both died in recent years.  Everything plays out how you'd expect: Batman, physically beaten and emotionally defeated by facing his entire rogues gallery in previous issues (apparently over a matter of weeks and months), is tossed around by Bane, the orchestrator of the entire gauntlet, throughout most of the story, culminating with a full page spread of Batman getting snapped in half.  Great.

Throughout this carnage, though, there's still some humor to be found: at the beginning of the issue, Bane confronts Bruce Wayne at (stately) Wayne Manor.  Batman has, presumably, come home to desperately try and rest to mend his battered and broken body.  He's drawn consistently with a nice five o'clock shadow, constant beads of sweat on his brow, and a weary, defeated look on his face.  He's so exhausted, it seems, that he hasn't even been able to remove his costume before collapsing in a heap.

He does have time, though, to put on a robe:

And I'm thinking, is this an issue of comfort, here?  Did Batman come home, pull back the cowl, and say "I've gotta get something to pull over this already bulky and heavily armored costume, complete will full, flowing cape"?  He didn't even think to take his army boots off?  His thick, layered gloves?  His utility belt?  No, there was no time for that.  But a purple robe...oh ho just said the magic words.

I am also a little disconcerted with how hairy Bane is everywhere visible except for his chest.  Arms, shoulders, neck, back, absolutely.  But I guess he shaves his chest or something.  Maybe there's chafing to be considered.

No comments: