31 Days of Horror Presents Heroes & Villains: DC Goes Dark

This week my weekly comics pull decided to go FULL OCTOBER on me, which was a complete relief since I was worried that I wouldn’t have any good comics to write about. I was worried I would have to write about Joker which I thought was F***ING TERRIBLE. In brief, I found nothing interesting or surprising about the movie and when I got up to use the washroom at about the halfway point…I considered not going back. I’ll be setting up a folding table with a crudely handwritten sign “JOKER SUCKED. CHANGE MY MIND” in the comments section below.

Now, on to the stuff I actually enjoyed this week!

TBG.jpgThe Batman’s Grave
Warren Ellis (W)
Bryan Hitch (A)
DC Comics

When this project was announced back in July I was concerned that the wait until October would be unbearable. Luckily, time has a habit of getting away from me and I was pleasantly surprised when the book showed up in this week’s pull. For some reason, I had thought it was scheduled for later in the month. Anyway, I’m glad it showed up when it did.

Ellis and Hitch famously collaborated on The Authority what seems like forever ago and are back in top form for The Batman’s Grave. One of the first images we’re treated to is Hitch’s take on stately Wayne Manor that takes up the upper third of the first page. It’s an intimate character moment that underscores Alfred’s deep connection with the Wayne family, which is sure to play an important part over the next dozen issues.

Immediately following that is a two-page spread of Batman overlooking Gotham. I may have actually verbalized a quiet “wow” upon seeing it. It’s an image that’s destined to be a deluxe poster or print (suitable for framing!) and most definitely my computer’s wallpaper as soon as I get done writing this.

The book has many other wow-worthy spreads over the next several pages and while reading it I couldn’t help but think that this is what I want from a Batman movie. Ellis and Hitch’s take is undeniably cinematic in its scope falling somewhere in between Burton’s Batman and Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. There are Burton-ish elements in the way that it’s a fantastical cramped city full of dark and smoky alleyways but it also feels grounded in the reality of Nolan’s universe.

There are some great character moments between Bruce and Alfred and some very real talk of what The Batman’s mission should be. No doubt if you’re a Batman fan you’ve had the conversation, at least once, that maybe the best use of his billions upon billions of dollars should be something other than dressing as a bat and beating the piss out of criminals. There’s also a great deal of detective work in the book too.

I would have personally liked to see this one of DC’s Black Label books so we could get some of Ellis’ more…graphic Batman ideas (if you’re a long-time Warren Ellis fan you probably know what I’m talking about), this book appears so far to be mercifully continuity free. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this story is going to go and I already can’t wait for the collected edition.

sinister-house-preview-cover.jpgSecrets of Sinister House: 80-Page Giant
Various (W/A)
DC Comics

It’s a DC double threat this week! The publisher has seen fit to put out a deluxe 80-page giant book that is absolutely perfect for the Halloween season and well worth the $9.99 price point. I don’t know what it is, but DC absolutely excels at putting out great seasonal books filled with quality short stories.

The cover boasts “EIGHT NIGHTMARES FROM COMICS’ MOST TWISTED TALENTS!” A bold claim, to be sure and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s a great Red Rain Batman (of the Elseworlds stories) story by Rafael Albuquerque & Rafael Scavone. Additionally, there’s a Paul Dini penned Harley Quinn & Zatana story that’s reason enough for picking up this book. I have to imagine that Dini has crossed over his two favourites before this but, if he hasn’t, I want more of it.

It wouldn’t be a collection of spooky stories without Constantine AND Justice League Dark offerings (a side note, the current JL Dark book is one of my monthly faves…I mean, DETECTIVE CHIMP, come on!). I should also point out that the book is a nice premium format…80 pages with NO ADS and it’s square-bound so it could conceivably make a nice addition to your bookshelf.

Check it out!

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