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Batman: The Cult [Paperback]

Jim Starlin , etc. , Berni Wrightson , Bill Wray
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Mar 1991
Deacon Joseph Blackfire, the man who has been busy converting Gotham City's homeless and destitute to his cause, is the leader of The Cult - a sinister organization hell-bent on power and control. This psychological mastermind wants Batman as his prize convert, and will stop at nothing to get him.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books Ltd; First UK EDITION edition (28 Mar 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852863730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852863739
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 16.8 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 746,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Bernie Wrightson is a fan-favourite whose work includes Swamp Thing and Batman: The Cult. Jim Starlin is responsible for many of the greatest Batman stories ever told, as well as Cosmic Odyssey and Death of the New Gods! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It deserves more than a cult following 9 Oct 2013
I had the good fortune to meet Bernie Wrightson at a comic convention in 2012. I got him to sign my copy of The Cult and had a brief conversation with him about the story. He mentioned that he isn't (and never has been) a huge fan of superheroes. However, Batman offered him the opportunity to tell an interesting, dark and gritty story that was set in a more "real world" setting. Looking at the recent success Christopher Nolan has had using a similar approach with his Dark Knight trilogy, I recently re-read The Cult. I remember being blown away the first time I read the story: Batman gets broken! And not by one of his usual rogues gallery, but by an enigmatic and charismatic religious leader.

I think the story has never been given the respect it deserves, certainly not in the same way as other storylines, such as Venom for instance. However, I for one, LOVE this story. One of the the reasons I only occasionally read DC comics is because their heroes don't seem to have any real problems to deal with outside of the villains. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire, Clark Kent a highly respected journalist etc. In their superhero persona they rarely make mistakes that have any lasting or knock-on effects and the events they deal with rarely inform or change the character in any way. Batman has always been an exception to his; the guilt he carries with him is one of the main driving forces behind why he continues to put on the suit (death of Jason Todd, Barbara Gordon's paralysis, Gordon's wife being killed by the Joker). In this story, for all his preparation and gadgets, intellect and training, he gets broken. There is some controversy as to whether or not he did indeed murder a person with a machine gun (or was it just part of another hallucination).
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1.0 out of 5 stars The worst Batman book ever? 14 May 2013
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER

A seemingly immortal charismatic con-man called Deacon Blackfire comes to Gotham and begins recruiting the city's homeless as members of his cult of personality, brainwashing them somehow into doing his bidding. There become so many that they overwhelm the city's police forces - and even Batman.

My problems with this book are many: Batman gets captured by the brainwashed homeless. Ok, so apparently homeless people become highly effective fighters once brainwashed. Batman gets caught in the most banal way, a situation he's been in countless times, but somehow falls victim to this time. Then he undergoes brainwashing which includes torture, starvation and hallucinatory drugs - he couldn't escape in the days he was chained up? It was literally a pair of handcuffs around a metal pipe, surely he could've escaped? It's yet another situation Batman's been in before countless times which he could've easily gotten out of. But then there wouldn't be a book if he escaped- it's so contrived and out of character.

There are so many instances of Batman's actions being out of character throughout. It's implied he uses a machine gun to kill an innocent (!) whilst under the influence of Blackfire's mind-controlling drugs. Then when he's shaken the drugs and is fighting back, he allows an innocent woman to be raped and killed - because he's got to deal with Blackfire quickly. But there's really no urgency at the end, Blackfire's not threatening to blow up the city, he's just sitting around waiting for Batman to show. He could've saved her. I think Starlin's excuse would be that Batman was still shaken from his druggy experience? Weak.

Let's talk about the character of Deacon Blackfire or lack thereof.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of my favourite graphic novels ever is X-men 'God Loves Man Kills', where the X-men are under attack from a religious fanatic who manages to persecute them at evey turn. When I found this title, I was interested to see how Batman would face such a cult. The story and the artwork alike are brilliant. Batman faces new challenges he's never faced before and they almost get the better of him. This is a dark tale, beautifully told with action, and intrigue. Deacon Blackfire is a great villain who manages to terrorise Gotham in new ways never seen before. A recommendation to all Batman fans. One of the best Batman graphic novels around.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting if somewhat unsatisfying 17 Mar 2003
By A Customer
... The story involves Batman being held hostage by an underground religious cult that is out to take over Gotham. The charismatic leader sways most of his followers through drugs, starvation, isolation, hypnosis, and torture, and Batman falls to him as well, to be rescued by Robin (Jason Todd). The necessary recovery of the streets of Gotham and the dismantlement of the cult follow.
The story does not particularly stand out as unique or original, but it does have its points of interest, including the author's discussion in the intro between the parallels of the comic of Batman being brought to it's knees in the 1950s by regulations, and Batman himself being brought to his knees by a religious cult.
The idea of Batman being broken already seems done, but of course, this predates Knightfall.
The art is obviously from the late 80s, in that style. Not bad, not great, and obviously over a decade old. Was republished in 1991, with the intro mentioned above.
It's worth a read if you can get ahold of it, but it doesn't make the list of top Batman graphic novels.
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