May 16, 2016
The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 447: Batman #669, November 2007
After death and mayhem, the Club of Heroes coalesces in this final part of the Morrison/Williams III collaboration. The killer is revealed in a sequence that nicely combines the action of the superhero genre with the crisp dialogue and detection of a Christie mystery.
I've spent a fair amount of time thinking through focalization in superhero narratives. I suggested in an earlier post on this run of Batman that we're placed sometimes in the driver's seat, so to speak, aware of all of the things Batman's aware of, and at other times we're watching from the outside, following the process as observers, rather than participants. And then there's a situation like this one. The best mystery novels will leave clues for the reader, allowing for the possibility of solving the mystery oneself. The solution to the mystery of the Club of Heroes, however, is information that we could never have been privvy to, and I wonder if that makes this solution a less-than-satisfying one. Batman picks out the baddie by his handedness, and his notice that the plane he arrived in was dry when the rest of the heroes had flown through a storm. Looking back at issue 667, there is indeed a shot of a plane with obvious water dripping from it next to one without said water, but it's hard to make a connection. The handedness thing might be a little more difficult to spot, and only in performing a thorough, frame-by-frame analysis is such a thing going to be noticed. So perhaps it's not a less-than-satisfying ending, but more a demonstration of how Batman thinks, and how his readers should treat a mystery in these pages: scrutinize everything.
Reading this story arc retrospectively is lovely, in that it presages the events of Batman Incorporated so nicely. Can't wait to see more of the Batmen of Many Nations.
Not sure if we'll continue on with Batman tomorrow, or take a short break. Depend how I feel in the morning. See you then.