Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Batman: The Dark Knight: Vol 3: Mad (2014)

Author: Gregg Hurwitz | Illustrators: Ethan Van Sciver / Szymon Kudranski
Page Count: 176

"They're merciless. They'll kill each other just to get to me.
Or keep me from getting to them."

I'm really liking Hurwitz’s writing style. He's not another wannabe trying to mimic Frank Miller. His approach to Mad Hatter is similar to the one he took with Scarecrow in the previous book, which is also something that the New 52 seems to be doing a lot. He shows us the Hatter's past to help explain his actions in the present. If I hadn't read both arcs so closely together I might not have minded that so much, but I did and it's either less successful this time or I was just less involved. Possibly because I just didn't like the haberdashery ham very much. If he's your favourite villain, though, the odds are you'll feel differently.

He's defined primarily by his anger. There are reasons given but it doesn't translate well into character empathy (unless you too are a vicious murdering psychopath with small man syndrome). His own failings being partly responsible for his warped state of mind should open up a door to a great tragedy, but it lacks something vital. When his true motivation is eventually revealed, however, it helps explain why he's so single-minded and detached about everything else.

There's a body count that's quickly forgotten, replaced by something no less aggressive but much more personal; put the two on balance scales and they would tip one way for Bruce and the other way for Gordon.

Van Sciver's art is great, but one thing in particular stood out more than any other: Batman's cape. It was simply amazing. His crosshatching was perfection. Small details captivate when they're given such love and attention. I also loved how during flashbacks the adults purposefully didn't fit into the frame.

Kudranski had the misfortune of trying to follow Van Sciver for the last few chapters. His style is interesting but the changeover was jarring to the eye. It also feels rushed, as if he was on a tight schedule. It's certainly not his best work.

The DK series is beginning to incorporate into its structure more of what's happening in the other monthly Batman comics that DC spew out (they're almost as bad as Marvel these days). If you're reading them all it's probably a welcome addition, but spare a thought for someone who doesn't or can’t afford to.

The book collects together Batman: TDK issues 16-21 and TDK: Annual 1.

3½ special teas out of 5

No comments: