Title: Batman: The Widening Gyre
Author: Kevin Smith
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: Dec 2010
Classification: Graphic Novel
Summary from Goodreads:
As The Dark Knight stalks the night preying upon Gotham City’s criminals, Bruce Wayne spends his days getting reacquainted with former girlfriend Silver St. Cloud, who attempts to teach Bruce about trust. Meanwhile Batman has taken on a mysterious new partner in his fight against crime in Gotham City, but will his attempt at trusting someone cause him to be rewarded…or punished?
So where do I start? First off, let me explain that Batman Cacophony was an amazing story, as I have previously detailed in a previous review. Kevin Smith did such an outstanding job of revealing a new layer of the relationship between Batman and The Joker. The inner workings of the Clown Prince of Crime was captured on the panels of a graphic novel that will forever be on my list of must read’s. The introduction to a new villain added to the intrigue of this New York times best selling graphic novel and one would have to assume the follow up would continue this forward momentum as Kevin Smith has proved himself to be a fan first and a writer second, which always helps a story. However………. The Widening Gyre falls flat. Perhaps that does not accurately depict my true feelings towards this novel; it defied the laws of physics by sucking and blowing at the same time. I will, however, try to remain as objective as possible. No promises though.
What I liked:
Kevin Smith was using a technique in this story that was quite intriguing. I would not necessarily call it a flashback, but it did incorporate some scenes from Batman’s past. In the story, Batman would be reminiscing about the past in acknowlegement of certain events which were transpiring. His thoughts detailed more of what was going inside his head and that helped to add a new and welcome layer to the complexities of the Dark Knight. His past relations with Robin/Nightwing mixed in with current events made the Worlds Greatest Detective seem vulnerable, but not in a negative sense of the word. He became more relatable as opposed to being a billionaire playboy with a death wish.
What I didn’t like:
The smiling aspect of Batman is probably one of the more glaring instances of all the book. Batman is supposed to be a dark and brooding character. The circumstances surrounding his parents death is what led him to become The Batman. On that fateful night outside the movie theatre, Bruce Wayne died and The Batman was born. If one were to devote their life to living in the shadows and fighting the nitty gritty crime of Gotham City, one would suspect this individual be a stone cold character, not a smiley ball of sunshine. Batman is allowed to have his moments of humanity; that is what sets him apart from a robot. Perhaps this instances of a smiling Batman should be limited to a grin or a smirk stretching across his lips when the occasion arises, not at almost every twist and turn. Batman is also not a soft character. Do not mistake his compassion for Robin as being weak; that is another part of what makes him relatable. He takes on Robin as a sidekick to spare him from succumbing to a life of destruction. It is instead the overabundance of romance in this particular novel that irked me. Even romance has a certain place in a Batman story, but not when it overshadows the dark elements which compose the Caped Crusader. Silver St. Cloud compromises the integrity of the Batman character. Bruce Wayne can love but Batman needs to remain focued on the task at hand. It might come up from time to time, as he is human and his thoughts may wander but when he relies too much on some new character that seems to be a bit shady all because he is love sick, I CALL FOUL! This new character also breaks every hero code as he shows his face instantly after meeting Batman. His mask is also ridiculous. Batman became weak in this story and it was all done through writing and not through the events of the story. There was also no follow up in the relationship between the Bat and the Clown. As a matter of fact, none of those events were even recognized, which was very disappointing. Considering the fact that the entire Joker sequence was what made the last book so incredible and not to have a follow up or even recognize the event is an insult to the reader.
The cliffhanger ending seemed to spurn my interest but alas, I have learned my lesson and cannot divulge the information as to why it actually might prove worthwhile to pick up Act III.
This was probably the worst Batman tale I have read as much as I remember, but I will go out on a limb and purchase Act II (if there will be an Act III). Decent artwork; severely flawed story.