Saturday, August 13

Batman: The Dark Knight #3 (Aug 2011)

“Golden Dawn: Part Three”

I can't even remember when issue #2 of this series appeared, but it was months ago. This series seems to have become one of the poster children for delay after delay after delay. I'm not looking back to confirm this, but I'm pretty sure issue #3 was solicited for much earlier this year, delayed to the point it was resolicited, then canceled and resolicited yet again – and come September there will be a new Batman: The Dark Knight #1 as part of the new 52! If I recall correctly, both the first and second issues were delayed from their originally-announced release dates. I have previously referred to the erratic publication of this series as “disgraceful.” I want to moderate that slightly. Yes, I have a real problem with the current and growing trend of sometimes infinitely delayed issues, even projects as a whole, and the apparent disregard for the reading audience on the part of the creators and publishers that it shows. There are too many examples to start listing them (but one of the comics news sites has been running a recent series of articles – Newsarama, I think). Some I doubt will ever see the light of day. In this case, it's been widely known that the blame lies squarely at the feet of writer/artist David Finch, and although I have really liked his art (it's not outstanding, being very much in the Jim Lee style, but very solid), it's not in and of itself worth the wait. (Here I'm contrasting it with the delays on Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds – I may have been disappointed when issues ended up delayed, but the wait for George Perez working on the Legion was well worth it.) In any case, in one of the panels at San Diego Comic Con last month, Finch publicly accepted that blame and apologized – explaining that he discovered by this experience that the duties of drawing and writing a series was more than he could handle, and that he now has a whole new respect for writers. He seemed quite sincere – and I respect a man who can stand up, admit his fault, and accept the blame. When Dark Knight comes back he will be working with a writer, and he promises that the days of delays are behind us. That is in fact apparently a DC editorial edict for the new 52, and I hope they live up to it. I firmly believe that besides the disappointment and frustration such delays inflict on the loyal reader they have at least contributed to the seeming death-spiral of comic sales over the past generation.

Anyway, by the time I received my July comics (and, after a delay because I've been both reading the latest novel of what may be my currently favorite prose series, The Dresden Files, and this week I've started ramping up toward the fall semester starting in about ten days), I barely even remember reading the first two issues of this series. Heck, sometimes I have trouble remembering what happened last month in stuff that comes out on time, given the number of series – the number of Batman series! – that I'm getting, much less something that cliffhangered three or four months ago (if that recently)! And I didn't dig out #1 and #2 to review them first. I went into #3 cold. Let's just say that I'm sure it will be a better experience reading all the parts together. I think there's a pretty good story here, but there's no way to appreciate it piecemeal.

Basically, there's a seemingly unconnected opening scene that I can't figure out concerning The Demon, followed by a scene with some girl who has somehow stolen the Batmobile being in over her head given the high-tech nature of the vehicle (driving it is more apparently more like flying a jumbo jet) and having to rely on Alfred's remote tutelage – and counselling; then Bruce Wayne Batman, previously captured by Killer Croc on behalf of The Penguin both hears why The Penguin has it in for yet another of Bruce's army of former lovers, one Dawn Golden (it does not reflect well on her), and manages to survive a death trap, escape, and rescue said former lover; ending with a scene wherein The Penguin seems to be making some kind of deal with a demonic creature to “open the Gates of Hell.” What's it all mean? Hell if I know. Hopefully we won't have to wait much longer to find out, because DC seems bound and determined to get everything pre-DCnU out by the end of August and it's my understanding that this storyline ends with issue #4.


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