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Batman: Nine Lives is a DC Comics production from the Elseworlds line. Elseworlds takes superhero characters and tears them from their familiar continuity and places them in "what if" situations. This particular graphic novel presupposes that Bruce Wayne and his contemporaries are living their lives back in the 1940s (which is how it originally started anyway). The impetus of the storyline is the murder of the promiscuous, Kit Kat club manager Selina Kyle. Selina, it seems, has been privy to dangerous secrets, and her death results in a whirlwind of furious activity from the underworld denizens. Now, Batman must chase down treacherous clues and doggedly track down the killer. But even for the Caped Crusader, it won't be easy.
Batman - a down and dirty urban crimefighter - has always resided on the outskirts of the film noir genre. Only now, the creative talents have deliberately mined film noir in crafting this gritty pastiche. A profusion of dark colors are utilized, and much is drawn in shadow, to accentuate the bleak moods of the story, with the flashback sequences done in somber red/burnt umber tones. To quote writer Dean Motter: "Each page will be against a black surround to create the ambiance of a darkened movie theatre." Dean Motter and Michael Lark unfold a mystery that pays homage to film noir gems such as Out of the Past, D.O.A. and The Narrow Margin. The writing is accordingly lean and hardboiled, and the images are stark and stylishly, simplisticly rendered, somewhat recalling to mind the wonderful art of David Mazzucchelli from Batman: Year One. Other than Bats himself, there's nary a whiff of the superhero elements. This actually is more reminiscent of the Shadow and Spider pulp novels of yesteryear.Read more ›