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Batman: Year One Hundred Paperback – April 23, 2013
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Starred Review. Many recent comics have tried to make sense of the large political situations of modern life. A character like Batman might seem an unlikely tool to ponder the right to privacy, but in Pope's hands the effect is dazzling. The superhero trope of the secret identity becomes a metaphor for the past life we all want to keep to ourselves. When the Gotham City PD and other forces come gunning for what is under the Dark Knight's cowl, Batman and his cohorts protect it out of a basic sense of justice. As written, the Batman of 2039 is a living legend, seen in flashbacks that correspond with the dates the stories appeared in print. There's a metaphysical quality to the character, as if his very story is what is keeping him alive. Pope's art strikes a balance between traditional superhero comics and cutting-edge illustration. The big dark figure and the high action that follows him everywhere is still present, but played by figures that look like they could be found in an underground manga. It's been 68 years since the character's first appearance, and we still have Batman and Robin setting things right. Who says it will be different when the future comes? (Jan.)
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"The dark prince of comix takes Batman thirty years into the future ... Pope's grim style is perfectly suited to drawing Batman."
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Top customer reviews
The year is 2039, and it is one hundred years since the Batman first debuted, at the advent of World War II. After disappearing for decades, presumably due to old age, a man in the cape and cowl has reappeared to fight for justice. Justice is in short supply in this world.
The state is a large apparatus of government psychics and technology monitoring everything and everyone. Privacy is non-existant, and the Federal Police like it that way. Into this mess comes Detective James Gordon, grandson of the original Commissioner Gordon, who worked with Batman. Now he finds himself thrust between a Batman (who is he? Is he the same man?) falsely accused of murder, corrupt federal agents, and a plot by rogue agents of the government to create a weapon of unimaginable proportion.
What I liked about this story is that Pope managed to portray a dystopian future, and some more realistic ideas on how to portray Bats in a way that didn't seem to limit his comic-book origins the way that Nolan does. He embraces them. The art was kinda strange, to be honest though. Not bad, at all. Quite good actually. I just had a unique aesthetic to it that was... different.
The end has some bonus commentary and other features, as well as Pope's first major *Batman* story. This was a short vignette that told of the "Berlin Batman", Baruch Wayne, in Nazi Germany. It was kinda an interesting mix of gritty modernism and the Silver Age view of the character.
I really liked this view on the Bat mythos.
Creator Paul Pope lavishes attention on Batman's costume and equipment putting real thought into what he might wear and how it might work. The sketchbook pages are a real treat and should be required reading for future Batman artists.
The story itself is fairly linear, but the storytelling is excellent. You really feel that Batman is in danger throughout.
The additional story adds more of Pope's vision of Batman. The Batman Chronicles #11, which sets Batman as a Jewish freedom fighter in 1945 Berlin. The story telling style is hard to follow and the archive unveiling doesn't work in an artistic or literary matter. Furthermore, the heavy-handed of the allegory of against the state is tipped when Pope places Ludwig Von Mises into the story-line, tipping a particular version of libertarian politics into the mix. While this is not new or particularly unforgivable: Frank Miller's allegories are much more heavy-handed. This illuminates some of the reasonless hostility of state.
So there is a lot of promise here, and some of it is lived up too. That being said, there is a lot of frustration. What has caused the state to morph this way? Who, or must specifically how, is Batman still Batman? How much of an "Elseworld" is this set in? Etc.
Most recent customer reviews
No stars, but have to give it one to post.