Batman Day came and went on September 26th but I’m still celebrating. I’m not sure what it is–my internal Bat signal must be lighting up non-stop–but I have been absolutely bingeing on all things Batman these past couple of weeks.
The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises Rewatch
Every time I’ve tried to do a trilogy rewatch, I always end up just watching Batman Begins, so I figured I start at Part Two this time. Heath Ledger — still iconic and fantastic and I am skeptical yet hopeful with Jared Leto. Now that I fully accept Bane’s weird voice, his scenes were my favorite.
“I’m not wearing hockey pants.”
The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
Apparently one of the major influences on the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, this volume has been sitting on our bookshelf for the longest time. I had started it a couple months ago on vacation in Tennessee but subsequently got distracted by real-world diversions such as cave exploration and hiking. Also, the artwork was a little tricky to get used to at first; there was a lot of extreme use of negative space and more impressionistic facial features, but after awhile I got into just simply because the storyline is so compelling. A killer known as Holiday is terrorizing Gotham, killing a victim on every major holiday of the year, starting with (you guessed it) Halloween! Very creepy and mysterious.
Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls, Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
My friends Andy and Cody from Heroes& Podcast have been telling me to read this storyline from the New 52 but it wasn’t until Cody basically re-enacted a key scene from Volume 2 (using a Batman voice and everything) that I decided to finally give this a shot, starting with Volume 1. The writing and artwork is incredible, and it gets very trippy somewhere in the middle, that you don’t even know which way is up or down or how to turn the pages. Not joking. Very demented and cool.
A Buttload of DC Animated Features: Under the Red Hood, Mask of the Phantasm, Batman vs. Robin, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Justice League War
Let me preface this by saying I was extremely sick this week so I had a lot of downtime in between napping and taking copious amounts of NyQuil. I did get to bingewatch all of these absolutely fantastic DC animated movies. They were great because they were all fairly short (averaging just under an hour and a half) so the storytelling was tight. Here’s my short take on these films:
Under the Red Hood
I don’t want to spoil the story for those who haven’t watched, so all I will say is this is the best storytelling and use of the Batman, Robin and the Joker trifecta that I have ever seen. I’m not a Batman expert but there are surprisingly high emotional stakes in this version of Batman. I’m a fan.
Mask of the Phantasm
Batman at his most bat-shaped-heart-on-his-sleeve romantic. Just… watch it. It hilariously dates itself at times but was still entertaining. And great plot twists!
Batman vs. Robin
All you need to know is four words: The Court of Owls.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
I finally fell in love with Barry Allen/The Flash, not really knowing much about him other than that my dad really loved him in the comics growing up and that he was super fast. A great take on an alternate universe in which Bruce Wayne dies in Crime Alley as a child, his dad becomes the masked (gun-yielding?!) vigilante Batman and Mrs. Wayne descends into Joker-like madness. It’s the alternate universe we both want and don’t want.
Justice League War
If Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is remotely as good as this animated film, I will consider that a win for everyone. You get to see the Justice League at their finest, with Green Lantern being a smart aleck, an origin story for Cyborg (nice to meet you, I’m a Cyborg noob), Wonder Woman eating ice cream, Batman being BA, and Superman doing what he does best (and I don’t mean destroying all of Metropolis… I’m talking to YOU, Zack Snyder!)
DC’s Batman: The Animated Series
Apparently this gem from my childhood is available to watch for free on Amazon Prime. I forgot how much I loved this series and actually recognized most of the episodes from when it originally aired in the 90s. I didn’t even realize until adulthood that it was Mark Hamill providing the voice of the Joker. His version of the Joker is the quintessential voice I think of when I imagine an animated Joker. This really was my first exposure to Batman as a kid. Clay Face terrified me as a child, even more than the Joker.
I haven’t even played Batman Arkham Knight yet, although I’m sure that’s coming eventually… Did any of you celebrate Batman for Batman Day? Feel free to join the conversation! I would love to hear about your favorite Batman comic, film, cartoon, film, etc.
Edited October 12, 2015 – Ack! I just realized forgot to include I also watched the animated film Batman: Assault on Arkham featuring the Suicide Squad. I realized that a lot of the trailer for the new Suicide Squad movie coming out next year may be incorporating elements from the comics that are specifically in Assault on Arkham. If you are fairly new to the Suicide Squad, I definitely recommend checking out that film.
I also neglected to mention that I read the Volume 1 of Gotham Academy, which features a younger cast of characters attending private school at Gotham Academy, where young Bruce Wayne himself had attended as a child. I had heard it described as a “Batman meets Harry Potter” and this is the perfect description. There are also some really fun twists and cameos which I won’t spoil here. If you love Harry Potter and Batman, then this is the comic for you. The reason I really loved this one is that it took me back to my childhood obsession with mystery stories and plucky youngsters like Encyclopedia Brown, McGurk’s Detective Agency, Nancy Drew, the Boxcar Children, Scooby Doo & Co.