Comics

Batman Year 100 #2 (of 4)

E. John Love

'The Bat-man of Gotham' is real and very human, but also very mysterious and in one sequence of this story, even mystical.

Batman Year 100 #2 (of 4)

Publisher: DC Comics
Contributors: Paul Pope (Artist), Colours by Jose Villarrubia. ()
Price: $5.99
Writer: Paul Pope
Item Type: Comic
Length: 48
Publication Date: 2006-03
Amazon

So far in this four part series, artist/writer Paul Pope and colourist Jose Villarubia have placed Batman 33 years in the future, while stylistically taking him back to his earliest grim and mysterious persona. Pope's loose, inky artwork and Villarubia's beautiful colouring continue to complement each other. Together, they have continued to create a unique and expressionistic visual style for this four-part series.

The second installment opens with the guts of a motorcycle strewn in a pile on the floor of a mechanic's shop. A young guy is working to rebuild it. Elsewhere, a man wakes up in bed, in a grubby and cluttered apartment. A bloodied and tattered costume is laying on the floor next to the bed. Twelve hours after almost dying after a battle with federal cops, "the Bat-man of Gotham" is finally awake. Tora, the daughter of the Gotham forensic examiner whom we met in the first issue, is there, as is the young motorcycle mechanic. He calls the Batman "boss". Batman calls him "Robin".

Batman asks them to leave him alone in the apartment. He needs to explore his murky memories in private, looking for the identities of the men who killed a federal cop the night before. It's a murder for which he was blamed and almost fatally wounded. In the meantime, Captain Gordon and his team review their old records on the "Bat-man of Gotham", some of which go back as far as 1939. Gordon decides these appearances over the past 100 years can't all be the same guy, but who is it?

Federal Agent Tibble arrives and, as he did before, plays the part of a Warlord. He "drives home" the fact that Captain Gordon has no privacy, only prompting Gordon to delay giving him any of his information on "the Bat-man" for another twelve hours. The arrogant assumption by Tibble and the Federal Government, that they will stomp out "the last mask" and that there is no private information anywhere that they cannot see, only serves to push Gordon and Batman closer to the same side of the conflict. Batman and Captain Gordon have not met and are not allies, but they definitely seem to have a common enemy in the Feds, and are now taking paths in parallel directions that the Feds would never allow.

Seeing how Gordon and his team speculate about the history and origin of Batman was actually quite fascinating. Part of me really wanted to see a connection made to the past incarnations of Batman that I have known. We learn that there has been a Batman in Gotham in preceding generations, but it is not clear if the past Batman had a good working relationship with Captain Gordon's grandfather, the past Commissioner of Police. Captain Gordon speculates that there should be much more evidence of Batman over the past 100 years unless some of the records have been lost or purposely removed. In terms of the relationship between these two main characters, this lack of clear knowledge and evidence allows for a new beginning, a clean slate between Gordon, the official representative of law and order, and Batman, the vigilante. This in itself is also quite refreshing.

This is the first Batman story I've read that acknowledges that the Batman character has been around continuously since the year 1939. There are no alternate realities, and no different Earths or time travel -- just a collection of sightings and accounts of a Bat-shaped vigilante wearing a bat insignia, captured in blurry photographs and vague media reports over the past century. We don't know who this current Batman really is, but the reader could decide that he couldn't be millionaire playboy-industrialist Bruce Wayne, who would be 130 or 140 years old by this time.

This story infers that there must have been a few different Batmans active over the past hundred years. It is interesting to speculate on all the sidekicks, or their offspring, who could have adopted the Dark Knight persona over the years. Could there even be some secret society of Batmen, perpetuating the role from generation to generation? It also makes me wonder what happened to Bruce Wayne, the original Batman. Not once so far in the series has his name been mentioned. Artist and writer Paul Pope doesn't give us any hints one way or the other, and Batman's true identity remains a mystery, for the moment.

Pope draws very effective thematic connections between the bat in "Batman" and vampire imagery from characters like Dracula or Nosferatu. In the second issue in the series, there is a beautifully black image of Batman's motorcycle suspended overhead, shrouded like a giant sleeping vampire bat. I think this panel is one of the most beautiful and disturbing images in the series so far. We're encouraged by both Pope and by his Batman to think of the Dark Knight's persona as more of a dark beast -- something that is truly designed to terrify that "suspicious and cowardly lot".

So far, Batman's base of operations has been a shabby-looking apartment -- a "safe house". He doesn't have an actual underground lair, such as the classic "Batcave". This Batman lives and works underground, but only in the metaphorical sense.

The pace of the second issue in this series seems less breathless and frenetic than the first one, but it still manages very successfully to draw you into the personal points of view of the main characters and their motivations. It has been established that "the Bat-man of Gotham" is real and very human, but also very mysterious and in one sequence of this story, even mystical.

We don't know why or how he came to be here, but we have begun to get a closer look at how the man behind the bat operates, and how he relies on teamwork, technology and his own amazing physical and mental abilities to gouge the truth out from under a mysterious federal conspiracy.

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less
Culture

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image