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Batman The Widening Gyre TP
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There's a good chance that somewhere, right now, a Batman fanboy is writing bad things on the Internet about writer, filmmaker, and radio personality Smith. This is mostly because fanboys view Smith's take on the superhero as near-sacrilege; they don't want to see Batman's sensitive side or read word clouds that feel as conversational as daily life. But that's just what Smith has done in this six-issue volume, and it's actually one of the better treatments the man in bat has received in a while. While Smith's first crack at Batman (Batman: Cacophony) presented the hero without much dynamic appeal, this series examines the character's human side. He falls in love and gets engaged (to Silver St. Cloud) while-literally-fighting off old flames. And after the arrival of a new costumed hero (goat-masked Baphomet), he considers the possibility that he could finally step back and let someone else protect Gotham. It's a Batman confronting the real problems of middle age, but it's also a Batman stripped of the stoic machismo his adoring fans have come to expect. Smith has made that a good thing-unless you're a fanboy, and you hate change. While some critics will scoff at Smith's longtime friend Walt Flanagan penciling this comic, it's worth noting that Flanagan's art is more detailed and less cartoony than it was in Cacophony. Verdict As polarizing as it is, this is an essential read for all Batman fans because of the distinctive presentation of the iconic superhero. But like Smith's previous work, this isn't for younger audiences.-Robert Morast, Fargo, ND (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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