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Batman: Dead White Mass Market Paperback – July 25, 2006


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345479440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345479440
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #845,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Shirley is the author of more than a dozen books, including Demons; Crawlers; City Come A-Walkin’; Really, Really, Really, Really, Weird Stories; and the classic cyberpunk trilogy A Song Called Youth: Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, and Eclipse Corona. He is the recipient of the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award and won the International Horror Guild Award for his collection Black Butterflies. Shirley has fronted punk bands and written lyrics for his own music, as well as for Blue Oyster Cult and other groups. A principal screenwriter for The Crow, Shirley now devotes most of his time to writing for television and film. Visit the author’s website at www.darkecho.com/JohnShirley.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

I’m not scared of him. The Bat? No way. Lots of guys this side of Gotham City, yeah, they’re scared of the Bat. Not me. They’re a bunch of J-cat bitches. The Bat, he’s a maniac in a costume, is all. Or maybe he doesn’t really exist. Maybe it’s some government psychological-ops program. I read about those, in the Weekly World View. They’re screwing with our heads, using some guy in a bat outfit. That’s what it is. That’s what I told Skeev when I dropped the meth off for White Eyes, last time. Wish I was still dropping boof off instead of the hardware. Crystal meth is easier to hide than guns. Damn guns are so bulky. Makes me nervous we’ll get caught. With this armament, the feds could get involved. The feds, puppets of the Antichrist, could be following me right now. I sure as Hell feel like someone’s been watching me . . .

This old truck needs a tune-up. That’s Skeev’s new drop, over there, isn’t it? Hard to tell from here, in the dark, with all the streetlights shot out on Simpson. Corner of Courtney and Simpson, he said—one of the sleaziest blocks in town. What’d he say, Rankin’s Fish Depot, by the river? And there it is, rankin’s fish. Sign’s so old you can hardly read it. Fog’s murking it up, too.

Park the truck legal, Skeev said. Don’t give nobody an excuse to search it. We don’t own every cop in town. That Captain Gordon’s got his team, too. Can’t trust honest cops.

There’s that feeling again. Like somebody’s watching me. Watching from . . . up high somewhere. Like you can feel it on the back of your head. But when I look, can’t see them. Skeev might’ve put some dude on the rooftop with a rifle. Can’t see anybody up there . . .

Wait. Was that something? Like a shadow moving around.

No. Jumpy. Seeing shit.

Check the watch. 2:53 am. Skeev oughta be out here, watching for me, but I don’t see him, the bastard. Probably got a speed run on. White Eyes told him not to do the boof anymore himself. He don’t listen to White Eyes, going to find himself out in the country, spread- eagled under one of those harrow machines, like Harnie. I didn’t mind Harnie’s screaming so much—it was the whining before he started screaming, that’s what gets on your nerves.

So where are you, Skeev?

“Trask!”

“Jeez, Skeev you made me jump outta my shoes! Why you sneak up on me like that?”

“What you so nervous about, Trask? You got a tail on you? A tail following you, right? That right?”

Skeev talking a mile a minute, combine that with his southern accent, makes it hard to figure what he’s saying sometimes. “I haven’t . . . I haven’t seen anybody, Skeev. Exactly.”

“What you mean, exactly? You don’t say exactly like you mean exactly. Some people say exactly but they don’t mean exactly they mean exactly. What the Hell you mean by—”

“Awright, awright—” Christ, Skeev’s buzzing on boof for sure. His little rat eyes darting around. Still overweight but he’s half as fat as he was before. Well, I known him for a long time, I’m not gonna tell the Big White, but Skeev better hope he don’t find out he’s taking the product himself. Being fat, he’s liable to have a heart attack on the shit. Stick to the steroids like the Big White does. “Chill, Skeev, I just—just had a feeling, that’s all. Nerves. Hey—you got a guy on that roof over there?”

“What, where, which roof, where, that roof, that one there?”

“Yeah, I thought I saw somebody just now . . .”

“No, fuck no, maybe it’s the Bat, man!”

“The ‘Batman’?”

“No, the Bat, man! It could be him! He hammered down on Joe Bliney last night. Joe’s whole crew, boom, slammed to mush.”

“The Bat killed ’em?”

“They’re alive, just busted up. I don’t know how the cops can take ’em in when they find ’em tied up to the stuff with those black ropes, that bat-shaped deal on ’em, I mean, what’s that, proof? But it’s good enough for that bitch DA, and they went down, man, they’re all in the city can, gonna go to the joint for sure, and for why? Because of the Bat. You better get this damn ugly-ass truck of yours outta here . . .”

“No can do, Skeev, White Eyes says I deliver no matter what. The Bat comes, I’ll be ready. Those other guys, Bliney’s crew . . . I dunno, I think it’s a put-up job, I think it’s all just a bullshit story about the Bat, the cops are gassing people, maybe, to knock ’em out, like something illegal, that’s what I heard—and they’re saying the Bat done it. Come on, one guy taking out five, more than five? No one man could do that, not without guns, and he don’t use guns . . . if he exists.”

“I seen him, man, you going to call me a liar, are you? That it, I’m a damn liar, right? I’m just running my mouth here?”

“What? No, Skeev, jeez, put away the piece, man, don’t wave that gun, if a cop drives by what ain’t one of ours, sees you waving that niner around—”

“I tell you I saw the Bat myself! About a year and a half ago, a little less, just when he started showing up, before I was working for the Brotherhood—we had a chop shop set up, ten new cars in there waiting to be stripped, and the window explodes and down he comes like black lightning, man, wham!, that fast, three guys go down before the Bat even lands on the floor, two more in the next second, he moved so fast—just like that!—and his face, man . . . he ain’t got a human face! He’s some kinda genetic crossbreeding thing, like a mutant—he’s half animal! He’s got bat genes, I figure, and he’s got this look in his eyes, make your blood run cold, dude, and I don’t ever wanna see that again . . . I ran for my life, and I was like half a block away, and whack! he shoots something or throws something and it hits me in the back of the head . . . Woke up cuffed to the wheel of one of those Jags. My lawyer got me off ’cause there was a witness says I went down on the street instead of in there with the cars, but I tell you what, I don’t ever want to see the Bat again. I know at least one guy died of a heart attack just looking in the Bat’s face!”

Pretty obvious Skeev was loaded that night and seeing things. Hallucinating on boof. Take enough, you get paranoia vision. On and on, rattling and tweakin’ at me, boofin’ out. Halitosis, too. Don’t wanna talk to him no more. We gotta get these guns moved in.

“White Eyes says we deliver, Skeev. You gotta get your boys out here, unload the stuff.”

“No, man, you move it around to the loading dock. I’ll tell ’em to get it in. But I ain’t sticking around. The Bat’s been hitting the Alley for a while now. This whole parta town’s his turf. Those chink whores that come in on the ship? The ones that didn’t die in the hold? They were supposed to work a good three years whorin’ for Venko, but the Bat kicks ass on the bodyguards, lets the trim go. Bitches run off into the streets. Guess he don’t care about enforcing the immigrant laws—but you chain up a whore, it makes him mad. He busted some arms on Venko’s boys when he found out they’d—”

“Skeev? I’m gonna move the truck. Get your boys around back.”

“Sure, sure. The Bat. The Bat. The Bat’s out there. I can’t stay for this. I can’t stay here, with the . . .”

Driving around the back. Pull up at the loading dock next to that fence. No choice: Gotta tell White Eyes about Skeev. He’s out of his gourd on the shit. Whoa, stinks back here. Pile of dead fish parts. So they really do ship fish through here, too. Good cover. What cop wants to look close at a place smells this bad? Rankin, for sure it’s rank, man, there’s maggots on that one, enough to make you—What was that? Was that something on the roof of the warehouse? Like a black shape with horns, in the fog?

No. Seeing things again. Nothing there. So who are these weasels with Skeev? I don’t know these guys.

“These guys down with White Eyes, Skeev?”

“Yeah, yeah, Trask, this is Sancho, this is Tar, this is Ronson, they’re gonna move the shit out, I gotta go, my nerves can’t take it, just put the gear in there . . .”

“You don’t even want to see the goods? I’m supposed to show you, you’re supposed to say yeah that’s the goods. Look here, the crate’s not even nailed shut. Check it out.”

“Looks like a damn machine gun—or a cannon—or both.”

“Shotgun-machinegun. Auto-shotgun, some call it. We got some other stuff you wouldn’t believe—it’s going to be the cutting edge of the revolution against the Legions of the Antichrist, man. Centrifugal gun—wait’ll you see that one. This one’s loaded. I’m gonna have it right here in my hands, standing guard. These things got hella range and power. I got this one loaded with flechette shells. The Bat shows, I’ll cut him in half.”

“Don’t mention him! You mentioned his name! Don’t say it! He’ll know, if you s...

Customer Reviews

It's almost like Shirley had this whole white supremacist takeover story and then shoehorned Batman into it.
Aaron R. Taylor
The stuff with Cormac and his son seemed a bit out of place at first, but got better towards the end, although the end of their story was very predictable.
TheOtakuX
The author makes, like his "bad guys", a lot of stereotypical racial comments and mistakes; and as a narrator he does not seem so impartial.
P. Burnier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Aaron R. Taylor on August 31, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this novel because, well, it's Batman. I've read dozens of graphic novels and was going through other non-graphic novels like Fear Itself and No Man's Land. After finishing this I have to wonder, did John Shirley ever pick up a Batman book and/or movie before? Did he even know who the character was? Perhaps he only knew of the Adam West television series and thought he was doing a more serious version of that? I don't know how else to explain not only the blatant disregard for the character but also the poor quality of the story.

First of all, this is not like any other version of Batman. I could understand if they were trying to put a different spin on the character we know and love (Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth has a terrific version of Bats that is vastly different than usual) but they have to keep it true to the spirit. This is not true nor is it who we Batfans know and love. He doubts himself, openly chats and jokes with everyone including villains, has problems defeating a single steroid-pumped thug, lets people die without even attempting to save them, serious considers quitting for a woman (who has no other history with him outside this book and has no personality whatsoever in it), and forgets why he fights crime occasionally. My jaw literally dropped when Batman did something in the finale that, in the real world, would have killed or seriously injured the person. And it went lower when they did the lousy Saturday morning cartoon show thing of having the guy come out of it perfectly okay. In the hands of someone like Jeph Loeb or Frank Miller such changes could have been incredibly compelling. But there should have been no more than just one of these aspects here since Shirley doesn't get Batman like they do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Zeb Carney on July 24, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a very adult story of Batman. It is very well written, and you will want to finish this book. But I felt that Batman didn't really get any time in the story, neither did Bruce Wayne for that matter. And I only recall Alfred having one line. As a dedicated Batman fan I feel it is important to address all things Batman, and in my opinion, Batman is not Batman without Alfred. There isn't even a mention of any other of Batman's enemies. But that part I rather enjoyed, it was a very different book. But, that is the Batman fan in me speaking. This is, however, a very good book. And I would recommend it for anyone who likes crime stories and mysteries. But if you want to read a book about Batman, I would suggest something else.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Siva on November 21, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
It's an okay read but not really the Bats we know. He gives someone a lift to the airport at dawn? Has time for chit chat with Gordon? A villain that resembles Bane in some manner? This book is a weak attempt at creating a bat story. It is somewhat interesting if you want something to read that says Batman on it but not a true Bat fan's book.
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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful By E. Lee Zimmerman TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't know that John Shirley has ever picked up a single comic book or graphic novel detailing the mythos of Batman, the Dark Knight, in his life, but, if I base my opinion on the "facts" he presents in BATMAN: DEAD WHITE, I'd have to say loudly that he hasn't. As a matter of fact, I'm honestly surprised that the good folks at DC Comics would have allowed this "interpretation" of the Dark Knight -- if that's what it is -- to see the light of day.

Now, don't get me wrong: the first one hundred pages of DEAD WHITE are very impressive. A new villain has come to Gotham City in the form of Aaron Bunch, aka White Eyes. He's a bit of an old school thinker -- death and destruction are good for business -- with a heavy whiff of New Wave crime thinking -- African-Americans and Jews are the source of all things wrong with the world -- and he hopes to bring an end to the 'Zionist rule' with high tech weaponry and a launch of the Ebola Virus on U.S. soil ... all of this starting with the destruction of Washington D.C. It's a surprising inventive, fresh, and mature idea for a Batman novel, especially given the fact that Batman is a superhero largely brushed off from topics of political relevance with stories of costumed madmen and wild fisticuffs. There's a tremendous amount of thought that goes into the set-up of the characters and the events in this tale set in Bruce Wayne's early forays as the Batman, and author Shirley involves a young Captain James Gordon and a disgraced Gotham City cop Cormac Sullivan.

However, once you get beyond those first hundred pages or so, DEAD WHITE begins to feel less and less like a Batman story and more like an adventurous yarn that was force-fed into the Batman universe.
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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Savant11 on July 30, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really did not like this book very much. I think it suffered from too much what I call 'Bat god' syndrome.

I am very much a fan of the 70's version of Batman which combined the 'world's greatest detective' along with the fact that Batman is a tremedous athelte. I think that this story had the potential to be great if Mr. Shirley had couched it in reality and made Batman more fleshed out.

Mr. Shirley's Batman has too many gadgets, and they seemed to be simply in the story to simply be 'cool'. and It bothered me the way in which the good cops bowed and scrapped to him. Some of the older Batman stories imply that Batman does what he does because Gordon allows him to. Batman is a vigilante who likes to do things his way. But at the same time he knows how not to overstep his bounds not unessarily antagonize the cops. The best Batman stories are the one where he works with the police yet manages to stay in the shadows.

I also was not too crazy about his interpretation of Batman/Bruce Wayne. He seemed to be more reminiscent of 'Punnisher lite'. As opposed to the master tactician and strategist that he was. He was way too hardcore. Whereas the 70's Batman wasn't so uptight. It was even demonstrated in the film 'Batman Begins'.

I also found the writing too choppy and uneaven. And it really became tiresome to read. I really found this book very disapointing.
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