Thursday, 16 March 2017

Batman: Absolution Review (J.M. DeMatteis, Brian Ashmore)


A terrorist bombs one of Bruce Wayne’s buildings and goes on the run. Batman chases her for years, eventually catching up to her in India where she’s trying to make up for her crimes by helping poor people. Cliché? Yup. Garbage comic? You betcha! 

Batman: Absolution asks “Can someone really change?” which might make for a good story but not in JM DeMatteis’ hands. What we get instead is plodding tedium where Batman is unconvincingly led by the nose around the world by a nobody who’s somehow always outsmarting him.

Rather than Batman’s usual colourful rogues, the villain this time is just a woman whose ordinariness is meant to emphasise the real-world seriousness of the story but all it does is make it that much more boring. She’s too uninteresting; so much so that even when she’s monologuing about her motivations, Batman’s internally thinking to himself, and I’m paraphrasing, “Can you believe this shit? She had a crappy childhood so innocent people had to die when she grew up? Fuck this loser!” - couldn’t agree more, Bats!

I’m amazed this flimsy, laughable, wannabe-philosophical/spiritual wankfest on the nature of guilt got made into a full-length book - it’d feel long as a short story/subplot in a larger story! Brian Ashmore’s painted art is skilful but it did nothing for me, especially as DeMatteis’ script took away any possible enjoyment from this reading experience. It’s easy to see why Absolution is out of print - this comic is beyond redemption!

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