Jul 8, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 500: Batman and Robin #14, October 2010

http://www.comics.org/issue/776240/

I have to admit, I found this comic a bit confusing. But I suppose that's because, with his return to Gotham, Doctor Hurt strikes and strikes hard, in order to avoid the previous outcome of his bid for control of the city. So things happen very fast in this issue. The Joker wants Hurt. Hurt wants Gotham. Batman and Robin, really, just want to get on with finding Bruce, but with a war between two insane criminals not just brewing, but exploding, the search for the Bat has to be put on hold. Wouldn't it be nice if someone returned to Gotham, just in time to save everyone?

I've written, repeatedly, over the last few weeks about how much I enjoy this series, and the Dick Grayson/Damian Wayne team. I'd love to have seen them get a bit more time as the Dynamic Duo, but this comic brings home the fact that their story is part of something much bigger, that they, as characters, are merely playing their parts in a story that is moving along on levels that they're not really aware of. The same could be said of Hurt and the Joker. Their interaction seems to be happening on a higher level. I'm not entirely certain what this is saying to us, though. With the revelation that Sexton is the Joker, that El Penitente is Doctor Hurt, the impression is given that their game has been playing out in the background the whole time, and that Batman and Robin have simply been moving around like chess pieces. It's not the role one usually imagines for superhero characters, and I feel like it's slightly disrespectful to them. That said, Dick has been thoroughly preoccupied with trying to find Bruce, so perhaps the shock and awe of the Joker/Hurt showdown is a result of his failure to see the smaller picture, so to speak. One can pay attention to the large-scale problems (i.e., the rescue of a comrade from the depths of time), but sadly cannot see the smaller problems brewing within that large scale. It's all about maintaining multiple perspectives.

But the big news: today marks 500 straight days of comics. Those who know me will evince no surprise at my having read comics for 500 days, but writing about them is a different matter. As I noted in my 1 year post, this is the longest sustained amount of writing I've ever done. Some days I did not want to write anything, and some days I had far more to say than I posted, but I'm quite proud of myself to have stuck with it this long. And I'm grateful to those of you who've stuck around for a bit. I'm hoping to get to a bit of a retrospective later today, pulling out some of the best and some of the worst of the last 500 comics I've read. I think the thing that really hits home at a moment like this is how little I've read, though it seems like a lot, and how much I've yet to read, which is slightly inconceivable.

Onward.


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