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Batman: Cult Paperback – December 18, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The character of Batman (who is often known as one of the strongest willed characters in the DC Universe) is completely ruined in this story by being tortured into submission (mental submission that is). I cannot remember a single story where Batman's mind weakened to the point where he would obey his captor even after being released from the torture. Batman was not hypnotized in this story and he's not an idiot, he has the willpower to overcome this. But while he's in this dazed state and doing whatever he's told he's going around with a bunch of cultists watching them commit crimes and I'm pretty sure his lack of involvement causes the death of an innocent police officer. Great job Batman.
Jason Todd on the other hand is down at the police department with Commissioner Gordon actually being a useful character. Based on the portrayal of Jason in this story, and various others I've read since (Crisis on Infinite Earths/Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow) I can't figure out why he was voted to be killed off, in this story he is a far superior character to Batman and even ends up saving him.
And the tone, if you know Jim Starlin you know where I'm gonna go with this. The theme of the story is "Religion is Evil". That's it. And yeah, I guess people manipulating other people's loyalty to a certain religion (or something along that line) has attributed to a lot of horrible things but Jim Starlin comes off as a huge jerk in this story. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess he's a militant atheist (which as a non-religious person myself I find to be incredibly annoying).Read more ›
With Batman his weakness has been a conflict between ethos, to fight crime compasionately, and nature from experience, an urging to symbolically avenge his parents in a most brutal fashion over and over again. So when he is captured by the cult there is plenty of material to work with. It is entirely possible that Bruce Wayne would be an unusually easy target.
While the breakdown of Batman may be hyped up a bit with a preternatural villian, the essence of the process is on the mark. Isolation, starvation, physical torture, and narcotics are all means used by cult leaders.
The story pulls no punches when in comes to Batman's experience. There is no use of the easy-out plotline of Batman faking it. The process re-programming is not a smooth one; the detox is brutal. The artwork as much as the story demonstrate Batman's suffering. You can sense the tension in his sinew. In my opinion this story and art are a better exploration of psyche than the Frank Miller cannon.
While this may not be the most complex or subtle good guy vs bad guy struggle, I found the story, well-supported by the artwork, to be a better chracter study than most while still have having an engrossing plot line.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I picked up this book after an hour or so walking up and down the racks of a comic store. I bought it because it was well priced and quite thick. Read morePublished on September 10, 2010 by Holden Punk