Batman: White Knight #6 (May 2018)

Batman: White Knight #6

The issue starts a humdrum cops chasing Batman, with lots of fast scenes of the cops (including Nightwing, Batgirl, and the Joker) coming up with ideas and then cuts to the Batmobile. It’s a little obvious, a little tedious. The action pacing isn’t right.

Then the Burton Batmobile shows up and nothing matters for a few pages except getting to see Sean Murphy draw a Batmobile sequence with the Burton Batmobile.

Sigh. It’s like if DC had validated the movie fans when I was eleven.

Then there’s a weak fight scene between the Joker and Batman. Batgirl goes to Mr. Freeze and finds out Papa Wayne was just a secret agent who brought Nazis to the States for science. He’s morally bankrupt but not a Nazi. Mr. Freeze, however, isn’t morally bankrupt–he hated his father, who–retcon alert–hated Freeze’s Jewish wife, Nora. It’s an okay scene though, even if dreadfully cheap. Murphy should just do a Batgirl series.

The end has what ought to be an amazing Joker sequence but flops. Brian Bolland’s safe for now. The problem? Murphy runs out of space. He’s been too busy with his action movie back-and-forth exposition dumping again.

Still. Burton Batmobile alone makes it worth it. For an exceptionally select number of readers.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Sean Murphy; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Maggie Howell and Mark Doyle; publisher, DC Comics.

Love and Rockets #5 (March 1984)

Love and Rockets #5

Hopey gets to headline her first story in Love and Rockets #5. She’s been sidekick up until now. The story’s straight comedy, with Hopey tempted to return to her graffiti days; the fresh white wall across the street is proving too hard to resist. Maggie and Izzy just want what’s best for Hopey and best is tagging the wall.

There are cops to avoid, paint colors to choose, all sorts of little things Jaime touches on in the eight page story. Lots of good monologues. Lots of good laughs in the dialogue, lots of mood. It’s not an ambitious strip, but it’s still an excellent one.

Then comes Beto’s Fan Letter. It’s a first person narrator talking about his favorite band, “Twitch City,” also the name of an unrelated Beto strip in a previous issue. It’s the story of a punk band’s rise and fall, in mostly text. Beto paces it beautifully, the momentum of the text paying off in the art. It’s excellent. And kind of ambitious.

Jaime’s Penny Century strip isn’t ambitious but it’s beautiful. Three pages of comic humor.

Then comes Act of Contrition, Beto’s return to Palomar. It’s a few years later and Luba’s the main character. None of the last Palomar story’s principal cast return. Some get a mention. Some previous supporting cast cameo. But it’s a new thing.

All but three pages of it is about Luba rediscovering herself thanks to a horny acquantiance and a new dress. It’s kind of a fairy tale setup (a box of dresses magically appears, enabling Luba’s night out). Beto grounds it though. He’s also got a lot of exagerrated humor, which ungrounds it. But the characters are all so real, which grounds it again.

Contrition is glorious comics.

Then Beto’s got Errata Stigmata again. She was in the first issue of Rockets and a comic book character in the fourth (or third). Now she gets an initially heady, then jokey strip about her boyfriend only being in it for her stigmata. Great art, great pacing of the characters through the panels (Beto and Jaime showing off the comic “strip” skills in different ways this issue). Great punchline.

And then Jaime’s got a lovely Rocky and Fumble. It’s their origin story. The art is beautiful, not a lot of backgrounds, a lot of mood. Perfect summary storytelling on the flashbacks. It’s lovely. Jaime’s style is always clean but it’s a little cleaner here than in Locas, giving the strip its own feel.

Jaime also shows off his ability to deftly tug the heartstrings, pacing the strip just right to get the most effect.

It’s an outstanding thirty-two pages of comic books.

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