You know, here on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we take a look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in the history of comics), there are some storylines that we cover that are generally good ideas let down by stupid descisions, like including a rape and a suicide and victim blaming in West Coast Avengers: Lost In Space and Time, or the backstage feuds that cause the Hobgoblin saga to go off the rails. Other times there are storylines that are just terrible because the people involved couldn't do any better, such as the Image Babwatch crossover. And of course there are those times that see creators who appear to have near limitless talent (like Chris Claremount or Frank Miller) just go mental, and you end up with Whom Gods Destroy or Holy Terror. And then you have this:
Ok, I actually don't think I can adequately describe this storyline. It is a 6 part mini series of such epic insanity that I would actually advise looking into it despite it's terribleness, purely because it is so mental it transcends insanity past all forms of parody into a rarified space where words and images become meaningless and everything is reduced into gibberish. By the way, this mini-series was written and drawn by Neal Adams, the man behind the resurrgence of DC icons such as Batman, Superman and Green Arrow in the early 2000's. Problem here is that Adams was the artist in all of those situations and you can see why, the dude obviously wrote the series in crayon in his padded cell.
Giving a plot synopsis is meaningless, because there is practically no plot. Each issue starts with a naked Bruce Wayne rambling to an unknown observer (eventually revealled to be Superman) who takes the place of an audience proxy, before Bruce narrates whatever madness is contained in the current issue. We see Batman and Robin fight Egyptian Gods, Dinosaur/Human hybrids (as well as actual dinosaurs), aliens and a tribe of trolls who are holding Talia Al-Ghul hostage, and that's not even half the half of it. The narration and images randomly jump to different and sometimes unconnected stories in a strange stream of conciousness way that makes the whole thing very hard to follow. Here's a few examples of the random stuff that happens (plus one of the funniest panels you're ever likely to see):
Ok, so, we have Bruce narrating a scene in text box format whilst also thinking something in the same, and the narrator quotes his thoughts but not the thoughts he's actually thinking in the panel the quotation is connected to. Plus of course Batman uses guns in this story because of course he does, lots of them.
Nothing to see here guys, just a guy dressed as a bat ridding a huge bat into battle against gun weilding guys ridding T-Rexes with ribcage helemts. Just a normal day in comicsdom.
"Scared the string out of my knees"....
Some naked Bruce for you and pretty much all of these scenes are like this. Nude Bruce has verbal diarrhea in all of his scenes and none of it makes much sense.
Yes, there is a wizard who speaks exclusively in jive, because of course there is. Righteous.
Yup... It's the eyes.
Oh and at this point I should point out that Neal Adams has been asked in interveiw to explain the plot of this "story". Here's an except from that interveiw:
Q: Can you give us an overview of the plot?
Adams: I cannot give you an overview of the plot.
The writer of the story can't even explain the story.
Oh wait, that isn't actually a joke (not an intentional one anyway), Neal Adams actually wrote something that he can't actually explain.
You know, back when I covered Whom Gods Destory, I questioned if Chris Claremount was on drugs whilst writing it. I would like to apologise unreservedly to Mr Claremount, he wrote a coherrant story that was explainable, if weird and stupid. No, Neal Adams was probably on drugs whilst writing this. Either that or he was being heavily medicated by the nurses at the institute at which he was being cared for at the time. John Doe wrote more coherrant things in Se7en than Neal Adams wrote here.
Why do DC let people just write any old nonsense in Batman comics? This, the Widening Gyre, All-Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, even Holy Terror was almost a Batman story before Frank changed his mind. Do they actually not care, or are they just looking for an excuse to reboot everything by letting anyone do anything?
Probably the later.
And with that
Uhhh… what the hell, Neal?
Even when he was nowhere near THIS crazed, Neal Adams was never what you
would call a *Good* writer… Great artist, but, Sir, put the paper down, and step away
from the Word Processor… 😀
Ive read the GN about a dozen times. That is where I think people don’t understand. This is Neal’s total Batman. Batman is represented from beginning to end. You have the serial from the beginning, the campy from the golden, and the dark from then on. Then you press it into a Al-Ghul otherworld(think Arkham Night drug filled missions)
Instead of going with just 1 version of bats, be it the mob fighting serial, or the zany adventures of the 60-70’s, or the dark of the 80-90’s or the gritty bloody current stories, we get alittle of each. Then in the last issue, we see how he meshed them all together.
Al dream/alternate world assistance of killing sensei, the only way to defeat him. But bats comes up with a different plan. Like Neal said in the interview after it came out I read. This series is one every time you read it you find new clues about what it is. And its true. When you realize the story is all batman stories rolled into one, you have a clear look at what it is.
It is borderline masterpiece, that few get. He is making fun of all the different batmans. He does the 60’s batman song for crying out loud. He even makes fun of the why bats doesnt kill the bad guys. Which is the speech he tells the villians in Arkham. “Anyone goes back to crime, will get the gun” But what they dont know is they had a deal, and sensei isn’t dead, but hurt. Then he de-ages the sensei to a baby. This GN is too highbrow for the average comic reader. Neal just gave a big middle finger to all the different canon. He gave a story of all of them rolled up into one. And people don’t like it. Yet, everything has reference to earlier canon. Bat fans don’t like everything, because if they liked all cannon, it would look like this book.
So “What Were They Thinking?” That all the Batman canon is a mess and needs to be deleted or they need to quit restarting it. It is genius.