May 14, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 445: Batman #667, August 2007

http://www.comics.org/issue/369825/

The Black Glove rears its ugly head (hand?). J.H. Williams III is amongst those rare artists I follow. I've mentioned, numerous times, that I'm more a writer fan than an artist fan, but there are exceptions to that, and he's one. His work on Batwoman, and on Promethea, or on Chase is proof positive of the exceptional nature of his work. The way he seamlessly meshes styles is wonderfully-deployed in this issue, which jumps from painted panels to line-work reminiscent of the era in which the International Club of Heroes was first conceived. It's interesting to use not only textual references, but visual ones, to hearken back to earlier eras of comics. A bit like reading a very Dickensesque line in a book, and having that resonance sit with you for a moment. Though I think the visual aspect makes it more prevalent.

A good old fashioned murder mystery, while the heroes are trapped on a remote Caribbean island, watched from...somewhere by their murderous host. There's a very cool juxtaposition of behaviours in the comic. For most of the issue, the assembled heroes are taking the gathering less-than-seriously, more like a game than a case. But the minute something grisly rears its head(s) (that joke is referring to the fact that the villain of the piece is wearing another man's face as a mask), they become the professionals they have to be. We may snicker a bit at the "Batmen of Many Nations," but they're all superheroes, all dedicated to their tasks. And this story arc foreshadows the grandeur of Batman Incorporated, though Bruce has quite a way to go before that comes to fruition.

More Agatha Christie-style adventure tomorrow. Onward.

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