Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Cat-Woman Review (Ron Marz, Igor Kordey)

A Batman/Tarzan crossover comic is going to be a total disaster but sometimes you can’t help but look anyway - I had to know, how bad is a Batman/Tarzan crossover? In actuality it’s plenty bad but not epically bad, y’know? I mean, it’s a Batman/Tarzan comic - what chance did it have, really? Not like something that set out to be good and turned into a trainwreck; this was conceived as a trainwreck and lived up to it. 

So Bruce Wayne has for some reason funded an expedition led by Finnegan Dent, an archaeologist, who’s been plundering Africa of its treasures, bringing them back to Gotham where they’ve been put on display in the Thomas and Martha Wayne wing. Oh and Tarzan’s in Gotham. Just ‘cos. 

But it turns out the evil Dent’s illegal trip, stealing stuff, has pissed off some of the locals whom those golden statues belonged to. One of them has dressed up like Catwoman to steal them back. Yeah, there’s an undiscovered Ancient Egyptian civilisation in Africa - undiscovered because it was atop a waterfall! Batman realises that he’s been funding a crook but rather than pull the guy’s funding, he lets him get away, then follows him to Africa with Tarzan and Catwoman (not Selina Kyle) to stop him or something. And they do. The end. 

Ron Marz is simply an awful writer. Batman’s unable to handle a nobody with a handgun? Garbage! “Claws of the Cat-Woman”? Why even put that as the subtitle when its not about that character, who plays a minor role at best, when the whole thing is really about some mad adventurer unleashed upon Africa by Bruce Wayne? It should be: “Batman/Tarzan: Bruce Wayne’s Folly”! 

But really the worst part is that the book highlights just how needless a Batman/Tarzan crossover really is (while also inadvertently showing why Tarzan comics no longer exist). It’s basically just Batman in Africa with some near-naked dude tagging along. Just ‘cos. Does anybody under 50 give a shit about Tarzan? 

And when or where is this book set - at the start of Batman’s career in an alternate dimension? Is this an Elseworlds? Batman mentions that he’s not really one for partnering, forgetting the multiple Robins he’s had for decades! Catwoman isn’t Selina Kyle but she’s still Catwoman, the left side of Finnegan Dent’s face is gored by a lion but he doesn’t become Two-Face, he just looks it - what the hell’s going on here?! 

As incompetent as Ron Marz’s script is, Igor Kordey’s art is worse. The man can’t get basic things like perspective and anatomy right and completely loses track of how his characters look from panel to panel. For example, they arrive in Africa in the Batplane and there’s a shot from the ground looking up at the Batplane that looks like you’d expect - like you’re looking at a Harrier-class plane, or at least an equivalent of that size. Then in a later panel shot from above and behind the plane, it looks about as big as a mini with a child stood next to it looking like a giant! 

Later on after Tarzan kills a gorilla (boo!), one of his legs is on a stone for some reason so his left leg is bent towards the reader but the view is so awkward it looks like his left leg is much shorter than his right and he’s lamenting that difference! Then after Dent’s face is mauled by the lion, it goes from having distinct claw lines across it, with the rest of his face untouched, to gradually having his entire left side of his face ripped off as if the skin had been flayed off it between panels. It’s embarrassing to see this kind of sloppy work in a “professional” comic. No wonder Kordey hasn’t worked for either Marvel or DC since 2004 (this book came out in 2000). 

If you’ve never encountered this because your local library doesn’t stock this doozy, count yourself lucky - you dodged a turd bullet! I wanted the Batman/Tarzan crossover to be fun and silly but it was just stupid, boring, and really poorly drawn. 

I suppose it has the potential for being a super-gay piece of slash fiction though, especially as one of the covers looks like Batman and Tarzan are about to embrace and lock lips!

Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Catwoman