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|Print List Price:||£13.99|
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Batman: Cacophony Kindle & comiXology
|Length: 144 pages|
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Kevin Smith every week hosts a podcast where he talks with people that have worked on Batman books/films and TV shows so you would think he would be perfect for writing a great story with the character. Sadly this story doesn't go beyond good, a humorous moment here and there does not deter from the inconsistent art and okay plot.
The story is a very simple one, the Joker breaks out of Arkham Asylum with the help of a mysterious assistant and Batman must chase him down. There are numerous homages to previous story arcs and minor villains but these will go over the head of even the most hardcore DC fan. The most interesting part of the books is when the Joker is interacting with other villains and seeing him make jokes, these however only occur a couple of times in the 3 issues making this story.
The most important part of any batman book when it comes to the art is how batman looks. Sadly batman is the least impressive character in terms of how he looks. It's clear that Walter Flanagan had more of an interest in how the villains looked than how the dark knight did as his appearance is inconsistant. Batman's appearance goes back and forth throughout the book but never seems to reach that point where you say "that looks like Batman".
The best way to enjoy this book is to read it while listening to Kevin Smith's Comic Con Babble-on Theatre. These shows are like a read along with narration and character voices being done by Kevin, Ralph Garman and one episode includes well known voice actor Kyle Hebert.
If you are expecting a great batman story, there are tons of better books that you could be reading instead. This is definately something to show someone who is new to Batman comic books. If you have read most of the well known batman stories and want to see how this is because you are curious I say go for it but don't expect to be blown away.
Fundamentally, this book is flawed - and flawed on many levels.
As other people have said, the artwork isn't that great - it is not the worst you will ever see, but for a showcase author, doing a one off storyline you would expect a lot better. The one thing that has improved over the last ten or fifteen years has been the standard of artwork - and this book, puts it back by that period of time, in one fell swoop.
Secondly, the story is too short. WAY TOO SHORT. At just about 100 pages long, how can you expect to put a new slant on Batman, the Joker, Maxie Zeus and introduce a new villain? There is no depth to any of these characters, and in truth, there is no real ending or meaning to this book.
And yet, there are some good points to this book. The new villain, Onomatopoeia has some potential to be a worth Batman villain. A villain with a dual identity could really be explored to full effect and would draw great comparisons between them and Bruce Wayne. There is also a very interesting piece where an lethally injured Joker clings to life, and Batman and Commissioner Gordon debate whether to save him or not. That is the highlight of the book for me and again, this could have had more time devoted to it.
It is worth reading the introduction by Kevin Smith. As other reviewers have said, he admits to his own failings when writing this book. Where others have really criticised Smith, i take a slightly different point of view. He comes across as realising that he took a lot for granted in believing he could write a great Batman book, and that whilst this isn't what he is capable of, it has made him realise how tough it is to write a great story for Batman. I think that is pretty honest of him, and i am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as to whether he can pull of a good, or great Batman story in the future. There is a new book on the way later this year, and i for one, hope to see a dramatic improvement in the results of Kevin Smith's work, or i will be less forgiving. But in the mean time, we need to be open minded about this book. It has some potential - some great potential - and hopefully we will see that potential shine through in his next book. And yes, it has some flaws - some really major flaws - but we have to remember this is a first attempt. Even the great writers and artists didn't get it right first time, and even now, some of those greats can't deliver absolute excellence every single time.
To sum up, this isn't a great book. It won't be in your top ten Batman books, top twenty, or quite possibly, top fifty. But it is worth a look at a price you are willing to pay, and hopefully Kevin Smith's next foray into the world of the Dark Knight will be much better...... Fingers crossed!!!!
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