Batman/The Spirit

After Absolute DC: The New Frontier, I will check out anything Darwyn Cooke does, even if it’s written by a mega-hack like Jeph Loeb.

Batman/Spirit cover

And I found that that was the key — look at the pictures, ignore the hackneyed text. For instance, Batman’s introductory splash page is marred by an unnecessary and pointless “I’m coming for you, Joker!”

Those visuals, though… mmmmm. Commissioners Gordon and Dolan commiserating in front of a huge hearth in a men’s club room populated with animal heads. The Spirit falling in front of giant letters spelling out his name. A charming, old-fashioned, *young* Robin. J. Bone (inker) and Dave Stewart (colors) should also be commended for their contributions.

And really, you don’t need the words much. The point of this comic is to show off as many characters from the galleries as possible, and then there are fights and things blowing up. Neither of which are marred by ignoring the balloons. It’s a hoot seeing the mix-and-match, even if I don’t believe for a second that Gordon would make P’Gell his girlfriend, let alone sleep with her, or the Spirit would be interested in Catwoman.

There’s a sneak peak at the DC website.


15 Responses to “Batman/The Spirit”

  1. Michael Rawdon Says:

    I remember thumbing through DC: The New Frontier when it came out and my reaction was basically “Huh, another reinterpretation of DC’s silver age early days, only this time with cheesy retro-style artwork.” It seemed like it was vaguely trying to recapture the greatness of Robinson & Smith’s The Golden Age, but it didn’t look it like it came anywhere close. At least not in the art department. (To be fair, asking anyone to match Paul Smith’s linework is a tall order.)

    But so many people seem to love it that I guess I will have to brave the artwork and read the story sometime. Probably not in Absolute format, though!

  2. Rob Staeger Says:

    Check out the Batman splash again — his logo gets the “Spirit treatment,” too!

  3. Sebastian Says:

    And I found that that was the key — look at the pictures, ignore the hackneyed text.

    Funny… I always had the same problem, but when Cooke writes on his own. Well, to be more precise, it’s not the dialogue, but the stories as a whole. I’ve read “New Frontier” and “Selina’s Big Score” and though I liked the art a lot, I was confused by most of the storytelling. It seemed kind of choppy and (though it’s been a while since I read them and the memory’s a bit blurred) more like disconnected vignettes.

    This one shot was okay, though. But then, I’m neither a native speaker nor versed in the history of the characters, so I probably just didn’t notice anything.

  4. Mark Says:

    I will get my copy next month and I’m really looking forward to it.
    The only thing from Cooke I read so far was his issue of Solo which I liked a lot.

  5. Mark Says:

    Sebastian,

    are the one I talked with last year when we were both finishing our final thesises for university (you e-mailed me bc you saw the survey for my thesis online)?

  6. Johanna Says:

    Michael, I recommend the Absolute, even with the high price, for two reasons: the whole thing under one cover, and Cooke’s notes in the back, which really convey his love for the characters and added to the whole nostalgia take for me.

    Sebastian, I need to reread Selina’s Big Score, but I didn’t care for it when it came out either. This one-shot did have a simpler plot, which helped. (Villains team up to disrupt a police convention as a means of capturing Batman and the Spirit. Mayhem ensues.)

  7. Justin Says:

    My favorite part was when they switched costumes. The Spirit in the cape and cowl absolutely worked. Batman in the suit was overkill, but it still had to be my favorite part of the whole thing. There was something so retro-absurd about it.

  8. Blog@Newsarama » Cranky columnist blusters over Batman/The Spirit Says:

    [...] her reaction to the comic last night.   Posted by Kevin Melrose in DC Comics, Fandom [ Permalink ] [] [...]

  9. Loren Says:

    I absolutely agree with you about checking out anything Darwyn Cooke does. I absolutely love his style or artwork. But, while I’m neither a Jeph Loeb fan or critic, I did think that his dialogue (including the “I’m coming for you, Joker!” phrase) worked for this particular project. Yes, it’s goofy…but, for me, it almost added to this almost Golden Age charm the book had. But, for me, ultimately more superior was The Spirit #1 with words and music…er…pictures…by Cooke himself.

  10. Sebastian Says:

    Mark: I don’t remember, but I *did* finish my thesis a little more than a year ago, so it’s at least possible. What was your thesis about?

    E-Mail: althalus (at) wtal . de (so we don’t bother Johanna more than necessary)

  11. Johanna Says:

    Rob: Nice catch on the Batman logo, thanks for pointing that out!

    Justin: Oh, yeah! Great high point, that was.

    Loren: I read Spirit #1, but I think I rushed through it too quickly, because I was trying to get to bed at a reasonable time. I need to reread it … and see if Ginger Coffee was still that annoying. I really liked how he handled Ebony, too.

  12. Alan Coil Says:

    “…and then there are fights and things blowing up.”

    I don’t really have a point.
    Just wanted to quote that.

  13. Patrick Dunn Says:

    Cooke is good.

    Very, very, very good.

    I can’t wait to grab this one myself. (looking forward to reading Cooke’s ongoing Spirit as well!)

  14. *The Spirit Book One — Recommended » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Spirit. Book One is a handsome hardcover collecting the first six issues of the series plus the Batman/Spirit crossover written by Jeph Loeb. [...]

  15. Lex Says:

    Anyone that calls Jeph Loeb a “mega-Hack” Doesn’t deserve to say anything about comics. He is great. Cooke is great. Whats wrong with you people? Each artist/writer gets the opportunity to tell their stories any way they choose. These are the guys that has D.C. has chosen. And they have done great things in comics. Someone will always hate i guess. Why am i eve here.




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