The Cat, the Bats, and Kickass   2 comments

 

I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels lately. That’s what I do when things get dull. I’ve been doing a little writing, running http://trollhalla.com, and reading graphic novels. Next weekend will be RandomCon. I’ll get away from work for 3 days, get to hang with some gamers, just relax and have a good time. Hey, it’s gonna be a small convention–I’m even Guest of Honor. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading graphic novels–the library has just received a lot of new ones.

Of them all, two have impressed me enough to write about them.  One of them is The Bat and the Cat, written by Fabian Nicieza, art by Kevin Maguire, DC Comics, $12.99.  This is a light-hearted romp, 104 pages of good girl art as Batgirl meets Catwoman for the first time.  Catwoman steals a police notebook from Barbara Gordon, Gotham’s favorite librarian. Batgirl chases her down to get it back. This story filled the pages of Batman Confidential issues 17 through 21. Along the way there is plenty of cat fighting and acrobatics on the skyline of Gotham City. Costumes are torn to shreds and sometimes completely discarded.  Several major Batman villains including The Riddler, Two-Face, and the Joker make cameo appearances, and the fledgling Batgirl gets a boost to her self-confidence. 

 

Along the way, Batgirl has to ask herself, just how far will she go to chase down her foe. Catwoman has the morals of a cat. This logically leads to a place where getting naked is the only way to follow her. 

And that logically leads to a place where naked Batgirl and Catwoman have a fight. It’s a fanboy’s wet dream. And done so tastefully too. Imagine all you want, you don’t really see that much. Oh well, the very best artists are those who engage the imaginations of their readers/viewers.

 

 

When Batman finally get s involved, things come swiftly to a conclusion. 

A big part of what made this book worth talking about were the internal monologues of Batgirl and Catwoman. Selina has never been cattier. You really need to read/see it to appreciate it. It’s a treat.

 

From sex and violence I’ll transition to violence and pathos. The second book that impressed me more than a little lately was Kickass by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.  This is the story of a boy named Dave who dreams of becoming a real-life superhero.  He makes himself a dorky green and yellow costume, gets a couple of sticks, and goes out to patrol the mean allies of New York City. Instead of kicking ass, he gets his thoroughly kicked by the first gang of street toughs that he runs into. In fact, he is beaten so badly that his skull has to be reconstructed with metal plates inside it–thus giving him a real super power–hard-headedness. This becomes important at the end of the book.

Sure wish I had a billionaire mentor and a bat-cave about now!

However, Dave is not one to give up his dreams of super-heroing easily. A year later he’s back on the streets, and this time he actually wins a fight against 3 muggers, and saves a kid’s life. This fight is captured on cell-phone camera and goes right up on Youtube. Instant celebrity. Even though he got pretty beat up in this fight too, this is more like the life Dave was dreaming about.  This appeals to me because I remember being a teen-ager who thought about making a costume and going out after midnight to fight crime on the streets and alleys of western Phoenix. I never got as far as making a costume, and deep down inside I knew who would get beaten up if it ever came to fisticuffs.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And I mean that literally. Trying to go out and do good deeds is one of the fastest ways to get in trouble that I can think of. This lesson is driven home on Dave’s third adventure, but in this one, he meets a real superhero–Hit Girl. This ten year old ninja girl is the deadliest thing you’ve ever seen. And merciless–not that any of the thugs in that room deserved any mercy.

I didn’t see the movie. Things sort of worked against me the week it was released, and the opportunity went by. That may have been a good thing for me. I’m squeamish. If there was as much blood in the movie as there was in the comic, I might have barfed right there in the theater.

The book is full of blood and bad language. Is that reality? It’s not my reality, but then, I don’t live in New York, and I had kind of a puritannical upbringing. I don’t curse casually. I save the strong words for strong situations. The kids in Kickass don’t. Oh well, I don’t imagine the language is going to bother anybody today.

If you watch Superman, you will believe a man could fly. If you watch or read Kickass, you will believe a kid could get beat up, come home covered in blood, and be back in high school the next day. Heh! I didn’t believe it, but it was a fun read.

 

End

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Posted July 4, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

2 responses to “The Cat, the Bats, and Kickass

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  1. I notice that Batgirl still preserved her secret identity by wearing her mask.

  2. Both very over-the-top books by the sound of it…I didn’t realize graphic novels show up at the library, although that does make sense. I guess I should investigate the libraries around here more often!

    I gather from the review that this is a pre “Killing Joke” Barbara Gordon adventure? Or has Oracle recovered her mobility…I stopped keeping track of anything in the DC universe except for my guilty pleasure (Doom Patrol), and liek you said, in the DC Universe the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    I missed Kick-Ass in the theatre as well, also due to timing issues. Not squeamish here, though (planning to catch the midnight show of Predators this week, for example).

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