Category Archives: DC Comics

Batman’s The Long Halloween as a murder mystery

Batman The Long HalloweenIn his wonderful essay “The Smartest Man in the Morgue: Watchmen And ‘Twelve Notes On The Mystery Story'”, Chad Nevett discusses Raymond Chandler’s categories of a good murder mystery in respect to the comic book Watchmen. It was published in the book: Minutes To Midnight: Twelve Essays on Watchmen.

I’d like to show that Batman’s The Long Halloween might as well be considered a murder mystery following the classical notes by Chandler. However, because I’m neither a literary scholar nor want to spoil reading for you, I’m going to do this with a simple list presenting the notes as given by Nevett and my own thoughts about them concerning this Batman story.

  1. Credible motivation: I’d say that yes, the murderer has a very credible motivation to kill.
  2. Methods of murder and detection must be technically sound: Again, definitely yes.
  3. Honest story: I don’t think any part of the mystery was unhonestly hidden or shaded by false emphasis. So, yes again.
  4. Realistic characters and settings: This is a problematic point. I think we can all agree that superhero comics might have a problem with being realistic. Some superheros have superhuman powers, some have divine ancestors. Batman, however, is just a traumatised millionaire with an oath to protect his hometown. Therefore I’d say yes to this note.
  5. Value beyond the mystery itself: It is a Batman story, so, definitely yes!
  6. Suspense: I was definitely not aware of who the Holiday killer was. I had my suspicions, but those were right where the story lead me to believe. So, another yes.
  7. Reasonable amount of dash: Tricky one. I’m not sure what that is going to mean.
  8. Essential simplicity of the solution: Yes.
  9. Solution baffles an intelligent reader: Yes.
  10. Solution seems inevitable once revealed: Yes.
  11. Mystery story must not try to do everything at once: Again, I’m not sure about this one. There are some subplots in the story, which might be too much to satisfy this one of Chandler’s notes.
  12. Criminal must face a punishment: Oh, this one is hard to talk about without spoilers. I’d say this one is a yes/no, depending on which kind of punishment (moral or judicial) you are looking at.

Let’s keep Chandler’s addenda notes out of the equation. (You can do that yourself after reading The Long Halloween and Nevett’s essay, if you are so enclined.) With 9/12, The Long Halloween might be considered a murder mystery by the grand old mystery master himself. Still, he might not give a damn about comics anyway, so better go and enjoy it yourself!

 

 

One hell of a comic: Batwoman – Elegy

Batwoman: ElegyThe Batwoman: Elegy story arc collects Detective Comics issues #855 to #860. You can get it as a collected volume here, if you are so inclined. Taking place before the New 52 event, it is still definitely worthwile to get and enjoy.

First, the story helps you understand the events that happen in the Batwoman issues after the New 52 event. Especially the stuff about Kate’s privatel life (aka her relationships woes.)
Second, Kate’s sister (Beth/Alice) is coming back after vol. 3 and you need to understand the emotional problems that will rise out of that.
Third, it was done by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III. who give us eye candy like the one below. (And I’m solely talking about the use of double pages, colours and space in the comic!) The flow and dynamics are exceptional and make reading this comic a wonderful experience even if you are reading it, like I always do, on a Kindle Fire HD.

Detective Comics #854 16 Batwoman_3_panel

So, if you are going to read the New 52 Batwoman, be sure to check out ‘Elegy’ first.

Starting with ‘The New 52’

Ok, I admit: I’m quite late to take notice of DC Comics ‘The New 52’. I’m normally not the typical superhero comics reader anymore (I still think fondly about reading Spider-Man in my youth, though.) But I had to give the comics a try, especially as both Amazon and Comixology had so tempting digital offers.

So here is what ended up on my Kindle Fire:

 

  • Suicide Squad vol 1 Suicide Squad vol. 1
  • Swamp thing vol 1 Swamp Thing vol. 1
  • Nightwing vol. 1 Nightwing vol. 1
  • Batman The Dark Knight vol. 1 Batman ‘The Dark Knight’ vol. 1
  • Aquaman vol. 1 Aquaman vol. 1
  • Batgirl vol. 1 Batgirl vol. 1
  • Batman vol. 1 Batman vol. 1
  • Detective Comics vol. 1 Batman Detective Comics vol. 1
  • Batwoman vol. 1 Batwoman vol. 1
  • Catwoman vol. 1 Catwoman vol. 1

I’ve had high expectations for some, limited for others and was sometimes happily surprised by all the comics. I’ll call that a good start!