Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

Batman #663

By Geoff Hoppe
March 26, 2007 - 16:23


Creepy Crawlers (TM) Joker not included.
The Joker’s orchestrating killings from inside Arkham Asylum (what’s new) and the clock is ticking for Batman…


The Obligatory Warning: there’s more gore than is characteristic for a Batman comic, so much so that kids under 13 (18 if you’re squeamish about it) should avoid this issue. Is violence this extreme warranted in a comic book? No, but it’s going to get noticed (said the irony fairy). Oh well, the joke’s on Morrison (no pun intended), because, for nine out of ten people, gore this brutal doesn’t attract. It alienates.   


Batman 663 is an interesting experiment in form: a comic book with more prose than pictures. There are even “chapters.” The art, provided by John Van Fleet, looks like the goofy graphics from that old “Carn-e-vil” arcade game. Still, the visuals hold the reader’s attention, though Van Fleet’s rendition of Gotham looks like a third-grader’s abortive first game of Sim City.


The writing is excellent when Morrison’s dealing with characters. Batman possesses seemingly super-human intelligence and physical skills, the Joker’s a threatening monster, and Harley Quinn is rendered (almost) as well as her creator, Paul Dini, ever wrote her. The down side? The writing is questionable when he’s dealing with anything else. “Chapter Two’s” description of Gotham city is a textbook case of a writer trying way too hard. There’s a distressed, faux-Frank Miller feel to the text, as if someone had pulled dialogue from The Dark Knight Returns and put it on an Abercrombie shirt. The above-mentioned violence reads the same way any violence reads: like you’ve stumbled onto a middle schooler’s first journal of depressing poetry. They should have put a picture of Jack Skellington on the cover of Batman #663 and had done with it.  


It’s too bad the stylistic flaws are present, because the basic plot, and the underlying resurrection theme, is brilliant.


Worth the money? If you like Grant Morrison, and don’t mind weeding through a few spots that read like a Goth fan-zine, (shudder) sure. If not, save your $3 for this month’s Detective Comics.

Last Updated: July 2, 2020 - 16:53

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