Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Darwyn Cooke's Batman Beyond

Darwyn Cooke is a well-known comic creator. His biggest book is probably DC: The New Frontier. Set in 1950s America, it's all about how the Golden Age of comics became the Silver Age using the Cold War and the Space Race as parallels. It shows, among others, how a character like Batman went from the noir avenger of the night he was initially envisioned as, to the more familiar Adam West-like Batman of the 1960s. Cooke's art is a more stylized update of the classic Golden Age style, lots of clean lines and squared jaws, and it's a really nice contrast to the more serious story line of New Frontier. It's a really attractive book and fun read, you might want to check it out. He is also partially responsible for Catwoman's most recent costume. Notable for it's more utilitarian leanings, eliminating things like the stupid high heels most female characters are inexplicably drawn wearing, in favor of a more professional and realistic type of boot, it's a nice step in the right direction.

Plus, it looks pretty awesome, check it out...

Pretty cool.

So, it makes sense that since Cooke is pretty connected to the Bat-verse that he would be next up with an entry into the whole "really, really short film in celebration of Batman's 75th birthday" thing that is apparently going on. However, Cooke's short film has nothing to do with Catwoman. This time, where Bruce Timm's previous offering was an homage to Batman's early years, Cooke's short is one from Batman's late ones... his very late ones. In fact, it stars the new Batman from the animated series Batman Beyond, a show set 40 years in Bruce Wayne's future, featuring a young man named Terry McGinnis, who gets taken under a very old Bruce's wing and trained as the new Batman, waging his endless war on crime in a hi-tech fancy-schmancy futuristic version of the Bat-suit.

It was a good show, especially because of moments like this: (Dialogue Note: "Schway" is your typical kind of future-set show's super-future-like street slang. It means: Cool ...But only in the context of the show, people, never in real life. Never in real life...)

Well, huh... I did not remember that last part... Apparently, ol' Brucie was about to treat himself to a trip down Memory Lane and then celebrate his birthday in a more traditionally Batman kind of way: angry, alone, and in the dark...

Anyway... like I said, occasional weird cartoon masturbation allusions aside, it was a good show. Neo-Gotham was portrayed as a huge megaplex, very Blade Runner-like, a massive cyberpunk sprawl with giant skyscrapers and flying cars and out-of-control killer robots, and Terry--with a very crotchety old Bruce riding shotgun in his ear via the Internet--facing a whole list of villains, both new and old. Terry and Bruce's relationship is very well done too, a mix of antagonistic father-son, strong allies, and loving mentor-student. They do a lot of good character opportunity there, and of course, there's a deeper connection between the two than first suspected. The show manages to be an easily recognizable Batman show and yet also stay its own thing.

It's worth checking out, as is this short...

Not bad, right? It's another amuse-bouche short, so it's hard to really say whether or not it's actually good or actually bad. It's blink-or-you'll-miss-it short. But for what it is, it's fun. I enjoyed it.

Superstitious and cowardly,

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