Monday, August 30, 2010

No, seriously, how do you just not get a character like that?

Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's Al GhulBatman: The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul by Grant Morrison

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I hate to be this person, but honestly I only liked a few parts of this story, and those were the ones written by Morrison. Dini's parts were passable, the stuff by Milligan was irritating, and the stuff by Nicieza was infuriating. I really like Damian, he's the latest in a line of heroes descended from villains who inherited a really terrible demeanor from their villain progenitor (Pietro Maxioff, Soranik Natu), and the one closest to being an actual villain. Fortunately, his homicidal tendencies aren't compulsive, they're learned from a twisted upbringing, and at only 10 years old he's been brought into the Batfamily just in time to cut his budding villainy off at the pass. (Though do you notice, the male Robins are getting steadily darker? Dick was lighthearted, Jason was an angsty streetkid before he died, Tim is constantly in danger of turning into Bruce, and Damian is Bruce distilled, concentrated, and mixed with the morals learned in the League of Assassins).

I'll give Milligan some credit for softening Damian up in a sensible way. He's a brat, but he's going through a tough time in here. He irritated me by arranging the plot so he could manufacture some unnecessary fight scenes between Tim and Damian and make Tim into the aggressor this time around, rather than having Tim as a calm, skeptical helper. Tim thinks with his brain not his feet. Still, neither boy comes off really terrible.

No, the person who comes off bad in this is NIGHTWING, and that's by his internal monologue. He comes to the house thinking to himself that Damian's not worth fighting a few hundred ninjas to save because "no one likes" him.

What. The. Fuck.

Okay, the kid's psychotic, but he's TEN YEARS OLD. Come ON.

And second, this is DICK GRAYSON. Since when does he think about how likable someone is before he saves their ass? He's been a superhero since HE was ten years old. Yes, it's nice that he likes Tim and thinks of him as a brother, but it is NOT in character for Dick to having second thoughts about saving a ten year old boy, even if it is one who's cut off someone's head in the past. He shouldn't have to tell himself he's doing this for Tim, and wonder why he should do anything for Damian--he should just know that he's doing this because he's Dick Grayson and that's the sort of person he is.

And there's later in the book, when he sees Damian in his baby Robin with the hooded white cloak costume, and thinks that he needs to smack the kid later. Also not in character. Maybe if he'd heard Damian being arrogant and made a joke about how that meant he was okay, that'd be a bit more Grayson. Maybe if earlier he hadn't been questioning whether or not this ten year old kid is worth fighting ninjas over, it wouldn't have seemed so... dickish? Either way, it pissed me off too. This is not Dick Grayson. Dick Grayson wouldn't think twice about helping someone no matter how awful they are--ESPECIALLY against a big bad like Ra's Al Ghul. Batman raised him better than that.

Also, Talia went into simpering love interest mode way too often. I can take Talia as a cold-hearted villainess, or a protective she-bear mother, or both (that latest Batman and Robin appearance? I want to see the actual confrontation, because as much as she wanted to manipulate the kid back to her side I don't believe for a second she's dropped the protective mother aspect and wll let anyone kill her son. She was preying on his jealous nature) but this simpering love interest shit? Some of these conversations between her and Batman made no sense. It was like a bad romance movie, where the heroine is contractually obligated to accuse the hero of denying his emotions when he is focusing on solving the real problem. She was good in a fight, and as a maternal figure, but when they tried to play up her romantic side she looked just plain nonsensical.

Dreadful book. Skip it and just be happy with the exposition dialogue or flashbacks if this stuff ever comes up.

And I advise you never to read Nicieza's Dick Grayson. Ever.

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