Catwoman

The Dark Knight Rises (2012): 3 1/2 Problems & Failures.

I have finally seen „The Dark Knight Rises“, and I want to adress / blog / discuss some ideas and storytelling problems.
I had big fun (4 out of 5 stars), recommend it, and really enjoyed the experience.
There are, however, 3 1/2… problematic aspects that I want to talk about.

The nerdiest / most debatable one is the question of what makes Batman such a great / attractive pop culture hero:

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Part ½:

an overpowered power fantasy?

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For better or worse, „Batman“ comics of the last 30+ years have shown Bruce as a crazy prepared, incredibly skilled, type A-ish, micromanaging, relentless and very, very stiff person: He does NOT make tactical mistakes. He does have a plan a… but also a plan b, plan c and plan z. Even if it look like he is not in control… he is.
As a detective, Bruce is as brilliant, cold, skilled and infallible as Sherlock Holmes. As a martial arts fighter, Bruce is on par with Bruce Lee. As a playboy and womanizer, his espionage, camouflage and psychological skills are on par with James Bond… AND he has the same kind of crazy gadgetery: Bruce is the alpha male. The ultimate self-made man. The pinnacle of human ambition. The un-thwartable, un-killable, un-defeatable chessmaster.
This is not a power fantasy that I, personally, find very attractive: I don’t like James Bond. I don’t like controlled, smug, overbearing heroes. I stopped liking MacGyver in elementary school. And I would rather root for the underdog than for a sports team, politician or pop band that already, through smart tactics and all the right moves, IS at the top of it all.
That’s why I like rash, sometimes irrational heroes like Green Arrow or Catwoman. That’s why I relate to „emotional“, loyal, outspoken characters like Clark Kent and Diana (Wonder Woman). Bruce is, all in all, a pretty joyless, angry, competitive and cold person / fantasy / hero.

Luckily, this doesn’t mean that „Batman“ comics / stories can’t be a lot of fun: On a philosphical / ethical level, most „Batman“ stories are about control, and about its‘ limits:
Does Bruce have control over his heart / emotions? And is that a good thing? What happens when bad girls or more temper-driven people like Talia al’Ghul, „Catwoman“ Selina Kyle, Silver St. Clare [the romantic foil of Grant Morrison’s „Batman: RIP“ storyline] or „Huntress“ Helena Bertinelli stand in his way?
And, of course: What happens when anarchists and irrational villains like the Joker, Jason Todd, Harley Quinn use chaos, tempers, humanities‘ less rational instincts to fight his own ideals of order and control?
‎“The Dark Knight“ (the 2008 movie) was an excellent, smart exploration of these themes, and a big personal favorite, because it managed to show what made Batman both attractive and heroic… and scary, dysfunctional and ineffective / naive.
Another thing that’s great about Bruce’s less-than-pleasant personality is that his SUPPORTING CAST is full of people that contrast and oppose him in surprising, crazy likeable ways: Dick Grayson (the first Robin) is more joyful and adventurous, and loves to work with friends. Stephanie Brown (the only female Robin) is perky, quirky, crazy optimistic. As a person, Bruce is often the least funny, least engaging, least relatable and most… infuriating character in the room – and it’s always big fun for the supporting cast to bounce off him.
That’s something the Christopher Nolan movies managed to do quite brilliantly, too: If we LOVE characters like Alfred, Gordon or Harvey Dent, it’s only because of the stiff, sad sack that sets up all their wry one-liners, emotional reactions and personal quirks:
If you dislike Bruce, you will… love large parts of the „Bat-family“.
[One of my all-time favorite stories is „Bruce Wayne: Murderer?“, a convoluted and not-too-interesting crossover storyline where Bruce, framed for murder, does not want help from any of his friends and associates and decides to go to prison, all alone: The first trade paperback collection featured some 150 pages of great, loveable, fun characters telling Bruce: „We want to help you. Stop being an idiot! This does not make sense!“. It really DID not make sense… and it was very nice to hear all these characters aknowledging it: „http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/106059.Batman„]
With all that said, I do love the „Batman“ mythos best when the writers tell stories about the idiosyncrasies and surprises of society, when Bruce faces inter-personal curveballs; the moments when a dark and bitter control-freak learns that he DOES NOT have that much of control of his world, after all.
I don’t think I’m alone in this, either: The whole of „The Dark Knight Rises“ gives us tons of moments when we see Bruce suffer, fail and struggle.
‎[That’s what makes Scott Snyder’s dark, dramatic and nightmarish recent „Court of Owls“ storyline so rewarding, too: Bruce is slipping. Things are out of control. His ideas / illusions about Gotham are challenged, then shattered: „http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13223349-batman-vol-1„]
On these (personal) standards and expectations, the Bruce Wayne character of „The Dark Knight Rises“ is… a wimp. An amateur. A „Green Arrow“-like, sloppy, reckless, out-of-control, hot-headed weirdo:
Why did he smash / destroy the TV inside Bane’s prison – his only way to get information about Gotham? How could he park / leave The Bat on a skyscraper, and only hide it behind a camouflage tarp? Why did he choose to fight Bane in broad daylight, with hundreds of armed criminals brawling around them (and how come they didn’t focus on Batman and concerted their efforts to put him down?).
When he was fleeing the police on his motorcycle, the last-minute escape over the truck-ramps seemed like sheer, dumb luck. When he was told that the Wayne Foundation didn’t fund the orphanage… how did a business failure/fact like that manage to escape his attention for a couple of years? And when he spent nearly five (!) months in prison, how come he didn’t piece together Bane’s history / personal details himself? Hell… why didn’t he SPEAK Arabic, fluently? The Bruce Wayne of the comic books speaks EVERY language, because he’s the most brilliant guy in the world.
I’m not saying that I like Bruce as an overpowered, unrealistic, perfect character.
Or that I WANT to follow the stories of a guy who is ALWAYS prepared and ALWAYS in control.
But I think that the „The Dark Knight Rises“ (more than „The Dark Knight“) tried to have it both ways, and I found the moments when Bruce was clueless or badly prepared or overpowered jarring and unsatisfactory… because they were always framed with / followed by moments where he WAS the perfect, downright cartoonish renaissance man of the comics:
I have NO clear ideas about movie-Bruce’s skills, limitations and flaws, and I found that he seemed both too competent and too clueless a lot of the time: If Bruce IS a perfect, self-made pinnacle of human ambition… his conflicts, themes and foils are clear.
If Bruce IS a broken, scarred, conflicted and emotionallly hapless guy in a suit, in too deep… his conflicts, themes and foils are clear, too. ‎“The Dark Knight Rises“ tried to tell both these stories… and for someone who is used to the frustrations and behavior of comic-book-Bruce, movie-Bruce was, sadly and frustratingly… a wimp. 😦
[One last side note: I did read Dennis O’Neill’s 1995 novelization of the important „Knightfall“ storyline in 2010, and I was surprised that as late as the early 90ies, comic-book Bruce was less in controll and much more amateurish, too: „http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51080.Batman
THIS is the storyline were Bruce was „broken“ by Bane, and a major inspiration for the movie. And it is only fitting that THIS, earlier Bruce has traces of a dangerous, out-of-control idiot that I find in the „The Dark Knight Rises“ movie, too: Both these versions of the character are less perfect (and: more exciting) than modern-day comic-Bruce.
The only problem: modern-day comic-Bruce would tell them that they are a menace to society, that they lack control and that they should go home before they endanger themselves and others. 🙂 ]

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Part 1:

an homage-riddled meta movie?

In 2008, when I saw „The Dark Knight“ (in Stuttgart, in July, with my 15-year-old sister), I had read less than 15 „Batman“ storylines / trade paperback collections.
All the storylines and moments „The Dark Knight“ borrowed from (most notably: The „Jokers and Madmen“ arc of „Gotham Central“) weren’t on my radar, and while I discovered them later on – to great joy… „http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6375833-gotham-central-book-two
…there was no way the movie could have disappointed or alienated me by straying too far from the source material: I HAD read the other important „Batman“ comic that helped influence the „The Dark Knight“ script, „The Long Halloween“, and liked it a lot… „http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/106069.Batman
…but for my moviegoing experience, this really did not seem very important. With „The Dark Knight Rises“, things had changed, though: I have nearly 70 „Batman“ books on my shelves, and maybe twice as many crossovers and batfamily titles. I’m a big fan of Nightwing, I like Talia (when she is written well), and I spent spring and summer reading EVERY „Catwoman“ book I could get my hands on, in preparation for a longer essay about Selina in the comics… and her role in „The Dark Knight Rises“.
Four years ago, my sister LOVED „The Dark Knight“. That same christmas, I gave the DVD to my mother, and while she had problems following the plot („The Mask was kind of gruesome, don’t you think?“ – Stefan: „What mask? Batman’s cowl? Or Two-Face?“ – Mom: „Yes, Two-Face. The one with the green hair! He was too… shrill.“), I felt that the movie worked very, very well, regardless of your knowledge of the Batverse, super-hero tropes or „Batman Begins“, the first movie of Nolan’s trilogy.
THIS time around, my sister loved „The Dark Knight Rises“, too. But with the ties to „Batman Begins“, the character cameos and surprising revelations and the overall reliance on surprise reveals, I had NO idea how someone who was unfamiliar with… Talia, for example, would enjoy „The Dark Knight Rises“.
As a „Batman“ reader and book critic, I loved the movie and all the clever, subtle and not-so-subtle callbacks, tricks, layers and subversions. The moment Miranda Tate and John Blake showed up, there was an immense level of suspense… for me.
It was rewarding, engaging, THRILLING to try to out-guess the characters, look for clues, and ask myself if my knowledge of storylines like „Batman: No Man’s Land“ helped me to understand where the conflicts were headed. Huge fun. But: Nerdy fun. Meta fun. Fan fun. Screenwriting fun. Epistolary fun.
„The Dark Knight“ worked excellent WITHOUT these elements (or at least I, personally, wasn’t able to spot them and appreciate them, back then: I liked that „The Dark Knight“ featured at Latina GCPD officer working in the background, and I it was fun to see how my expectations („Is that Renee Montoya? Is that a cameo?“) were stirred up… and later subverted.)
„The Dark Knight Rises“, on the other hand, had a black police officer named Allen. CRISPUS ALLEN? A strawberry blonde runaway girl working with Selina. IS THAT HOLLY? I was so expecting to hear that word „Grayson“… that when I heard „Robin“ instead, I was pretty disappointed.
I think my knowledge of the comic book storylines, the source material and inspiration, helped to make „The Dark Knight Rises“ a much richer, complex experience. It brought some problems (Marion Cotillard did seem too matronly… Anne Hathaway did seem too flaky and naive… the Gotham City police seemed shockingly white, male and clueless, compared to their role in „No Man’s Land“…)
…but overall, this MADE the movie for me, and I don’t know how much I would have enjoyed it without this meta-level.
One final aside: I spent the better part of last week reading Will Pfeifer’s „Catwoman“ run, and found it to be pretty bland and generic: Selina has given birth to a daughter, and tries to make a fresh start, away from the dangers of her old neighbourhood and „Selina Kyle“ identity.
Pfeifer’s story raises intelligent questions about outrunning your past, hiding behind masks and putting your friends in the line of danger… but the conflicts dragged on, and the resolutions were messy and poorly thought-out: I went away from his book, knowing that I do not want anyone else to read this. It was sub-par storytelling, and it retroactively spoiled / ruined the great START of this „Catwoman“ volume, written by Ed Brubaker.
With „The Dark Knight Rises“, Pfeifer’s run is a little redeemed, and might even work well for people who are interested in movie-Selina: When Anne Hathaway talked about the fact that nowadays, she cannot outrun her past or delete herself from the files of the police, I had to smile: „Tell me about it, girl: THIS is what Will Pfeifer’s 30-plus chapters of the ‚Catwoman‘ book have been about. And they were SO tedious… I can completely understand your ennui.“ 🙂
‎(All in all, „The Dark Knight Rises“ is not the best movie for Catwoman fans, because in the comics, Selina is quite often the sharpest, smartest, most reasonable and pragmatic person in the room. In the movie, though, she seemed wishy-washy, clueless, annoyed and egocentric, and I never felt like „This person is smarter than Bruce.“ or even „While Bruce has inhibitions and neuroses, Selina is flexible enough to get MORE work done, and deal with harsher, more complex realities.“)
Plus, as a final aside: The scene where rich playboy Bruce Wayne visits attractive, free-spirited Selina Kyle in her cluttered, cushy apartment and enjoys her sense of style… reminded me of a scene in „Vanilla Sky“ where rich playboy David Aames visits attractive, free-spirited Sofia Serrano in her cluttered, cushy apartment and falls in love with her, forever. For an inebt, self-centered character played by Tom Cruise, this makes sense. For Bruce Wayne (and Chris Nolan), it just seemed like lazy characterization.)

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Part 2:

a movie about… what, exactly?

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I really enjoyed the symbolism of the movie, and the ways that Bruce and/or Batman DID „rise“ multiple times / on multiple levels.
On a more basic level of structure / storytelling, there is an unexpected flaw in this movie, though: I have no idea what it is ABOUT.
Chris Nolan wrote that „Batman Begins“ was about Fear, „The Dark Knight“ was about Chaos, and „The Dark Knight Rises“ centered on Pain. This is not the word / main motif / theme that I would have chosen… but I can see it, and I don’t think that every movie HAS to be about ONE definite thing. It’s sad, though, that the „chaos“ theme of „The Dark Knight“ works really, really well throughout the movie…
…while „The Dark Knight Rises“ is a hodgepodge of multiple questions, conflicts, philosophical ideas, themes and motifs. I don’t ind that the movie is BUSY. I don’t mind that the script takes wild twists and turns. I enjoyed the big revelations and unexpected moments, and it was a very fulfilling and satisfying cinematic… experience: I was NOT bored for 165 minutes, and there was all this awesome stuff going on, often at a breakneck pace.
At the same time, the dialogue and symbolism of the movie CONSTANTLY hinted at big, important questions / conflicts / themes:
What does Gordon’s lie (and Bruce acceptance of this lie and the draconian Blackgate legizlation) MEAN… when it comes to questions of redemption, corruption, „the greater good“? What was the point… not for the individual characters (it provided great conflicts and dynamics for Gordon, Bruce and Blake)… but on this bigger, thematic level? WHY did this happen? What’s the point?
Selina wants society to forget. Is this a problem that has to do anything with… Bruce? Bane? Miranda? Lucius? Gordon? It seems SO big and topical and relevant… but I don’t think it was explored in any smart way, or tied to the other conflicts / motifs.
ONE person has the trigger? ONE random citizen, and HIS conflict between hope / humanity’s better nature and deperation, controlling the whole city? The scenario reminded me of… something, and quite hard. How does this mirror Bruce’s vigilantism and his „EVERYONE can be a hero“ speech to Gordon?
I suppose the movie was about environments and how they formed and malformed people, in SOME way. It was also about privilege. And the blue-collar class. And class warfare. With NO „normal“ Gotham citizens on display throughout a siege that took 5 months (except some clueless, big-eyed orphans), we did not see how „GOTHAM“ (that is: not the Blackgate scum. Not the noble cops. Not heroes like Blake and Gordon. But: NORMAL people, the very ones whose nature, limitations, innocence and value ALL THESE CHARACTERS spend debating) make their choices: Are they part of the angry mobs? Are they running scared? What DOES Gotham deserve, 8 years after „The Dark Knight“?
…that’s when on Facebook, a friend commented:
I think, Dark Knight already had two motives, that can be summed up with to quotes.
„some people just want to watch the world burn“ by Alfred, which is Chaos and „You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.“ ehich represents the fall of of a hero and that everybody can be seduced.
On of the big flaws of Dark Knight rises in my opinion is that the overall topic of the movie is revealed at the end by Miranda, when it turns out who she really is. I think at this point all the greater topics from before get reduced to the oldest movie-topic of the world, which is revenge.
There is no bigger meaning behind „giving the city back to its people“ or so, it’s just a simple „revenge for what you did to my father“ – plot. And come on, we’ve seen this a thousand times before, right?
I have to say, for me Dark Knight rises was nowhere near as deep and fullfilling as Dark Knight and disappointing in this sense. Still an entertaining movie 🙂
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Yes. Exactly! Thank you so much.
When people ask what is important or unique about Ras al Ghul, I’m quick to say „He is an eco-terrorist. He thinks that the environment is more important than people.“ But if I go a little deeper and REALLY try to explain / rationalize the League of Shadows („League of Assassins“ in the comic books), I quickly end with „These people are hundred of years old, and batshit insane.“ Ras IS a great, fun, pompous character, and a great foil for Bruce. But he was created in the seventies, and he’s very reminiscent of the BOND-villains of that era: a fun arch-enemy. But not the greatest, deepest philosopher.)
In lots of movies – for better or worse – you can take ALL the important characters, look for the main motif, and ask for each and every one of them: „Where do they stand, on this topic? How did they learn to deal with THIS thing?“. So… a movie like „Juno“, that is about providing babies with a good start in life, has five to ten different characters with unique ideas about what IS a „good start“. They all are different kind of providers. They all have their flaws, their backstories and their losses. But it all ties back into the main theme.
With „The Dark Knight Rises“, is really cannot say what kind of perspective… Lucius, for example… provides: He DOES serve purpose as one of many, many cogs, keeping the story running, the events unfolding, the excitement high. But I can REALLY understand how the Joker, Rachel Dawes, Harvey Dent, Bruce and Gordon related to each other, thematically, in „The Dark Knight“. This time, with THESE people… not so much. (Do Selina and Miranda, for example, contrast each other in any meaningful or intelligent way? They happen to be in the same movie, and the movie IS better for them… but IF ‚The Dark Knight Rises‘ indeed IS a complex tapestry / medition of PAIN… I don’t know how these two figure in.“
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my Facebook buddy, once more:
Also, a lot of the things that were discussed before the release of the movie, especially after the aurora shooting, the rise of the one percent vs the 99 percent, the wall street scene and so on, …on the surface, this looked as if it had such a strong connection to the current political and economical situation. But already during this special scene, it was obvious, that Bane is not doing this to give a comment to the gready banks, it’s just a simple scam, not unlikely what the criminal guys in finance do themselves (with a little fire power added 😉 ). I have to admit, one day after the movie, I find more and more things I don’t like…
The look and feel, the general way Gotham and its citizens were represented, also was not working for me, at least in the context of the role they were supposed to play in the movie. Gotham is supossed to be this „wretched hive of scum and villainy“ to quote sth else, and Tim Burton and I guess most of the comics really can provide this image!
In Nolan’s „realistic“ Gotham, there is not a lot of all of this going on. It’s just (very obviously) the New York we all know. Now, you can probably discuss how rotten New York really is, but in todays world it is nowhere near as dangerous as the Gotham we know from the former incarnations. In the movie, there were no corrupt cops, not a lot of thievery going on (what is usually used in most of the Batman movies to give him a heroic entrance into the flick).
I guess, overall, the oprhans Gordon Levitt was trying to save were suppossed to be the representation of all that is innocent in Gotham, but for me this was just such a boring and obvious ploy by Nolan to make you care for someone living in Gotham: It also made JGL just look like a complete asshole. Leave the 20 kids on the bridge and try to save the rest of the 12 mio people in the city!!! If the bomb goes of, they are all gonna die anyway!
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Thanks for the comments! I’ll elaborate the „Occupy“-part in a minute:
On a final side note, screenwriting-wise, I’m… amazed that people are not angrier / more annoyed at the John Blake character. A young guy who comes from nowhere an quickly upstages the heroes? A guy the SAME age as the key demographic of the movie? Who gets told by people like Bruce and Gordon how he is SUCH a great addition to the plot?
The term, for this, is „Mary Sue“. Or, with male characters: „Marty Stu“. Details here: „http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MartyStu
my Facebook friend, Christian, one last time:
Screenwriting wise the whole set up of the character and his relationship to bruce Wayne / Batman is very querstionable, I think. Seems to be quite easy to discover the true identity of Batman… well, you’re an orphan, I am an orphan, saw the look on your face, … bam.. you’re Batman.
Hey Bruce, think about a better cover up, when even a kid can see throuh all of this be meeting you once!
Also, shame on Gary Oldmen.. met Bruce and Batman so often and didn’t discover the similarities. Well, I guess, he is not an orphan.

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Part 3:

empty buzzwords? anti-„Occupy“?

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Bane – as a concept, character and threat – worked VERY well for me. I understand his motivation. I like the conflict. I understood why he is a relevant addition to Batman’s rogue gallery from the „Knightfall“ novel AND his supporting role as a honor-obsessed, pragmatic and cold anti-hero / mercenary in Gail Simon’s „Secret Six“ comic book series. Bane might not be a very well-known or attractive / splashy villain… but I admire the choice, and I think it was ambitious and intelligent. „http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10241987-secret-six-vol-5
The way he undermined Gotham with a gang of angry young man seemed plausible on a „Ah! I see what’s happening here! This is going to be dark, angry fun!“ level… because Tyler Durden channeled the same kind of anger from the SAME kind of men to produce similar levels of mayhem and destruction in „Fight Club“. It’s too fresh to be a cliché, and too strategically sound / „realistic“ to strike me as plagiarism… so… it’s just „a thing“, now: The service industry is full of taciturn, smart, sardonic people our age… who want to ruin society. 🙂
That being said, I do NOT think that „The Dark Knight Rises“ makes any particularly smart point about class divides, populism, poverty, fat cats and „the public“. The movie has ALL the motifs, buzzwords and visual callbacks of any recent „Occupy“-related culture clash…
…but as a demagogue / leader / revolutionary, I’m not buying what Bane is selling, and I don’t know how or if Gotham’s citizens are: We don’t SEE them. They have no voice, no opinions and no agency in this movie. Everyone TALKS about „the public“. But they seems spectators and victims at best.
That’s what makes Selina such a wimpy and careless character in the movie, too: Did she spend five months… hunting down apple-thiefs? Is there NO way she wants to re-shape, influence, „seduce“ society? Her blonde sidekick seems… offensively stupid when she asks her if THIS is what she wanted for Gotham… and the movie lacks all answers to what REAL protesters, reformers, leftists, anti-establishment protesters etc. want. Bane’s vision is… despair: He wants to turn Gotham in the same kind of (literal) hell hole he was living in for years.
But the real-life equivalents of these unhappy Gotham underdogs / Lumpenproletariat DOES have a vision. Nolan treats these people as strawmen here, and while the conflict / scenario IS similar to the „Batman: No Man’s Land“ storyline (where Gotham is cut off from the US after it’s devastated by an earthquake, and only criminals, victims and some policemen remain in the ruins)… „No Man’s Land“ is superior in two important aspects:
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1) In „No Man’s Land“, there’s a strong „people are good, hope will prevail“ vibe when storeowners, street gangs, idealistic policemen and even characters like Two-Face and Poison Ivy work together to make Gotham a liveable place. EVERYONE has agency. And EVERYONE wants to change the city and fight the status quo.
‎2) In a side storyline, rogue batfamily member The Huntress, Helena Bertinelli, joins a group of rogue GCPD cops who want to share resources and build their own secure little communal place in the midst of chaos. The subplot starts fairly simple, but culminates in a depressingly plausible, complex and desperate stand-off situation where these former idealists act like a communist state, ca. 1988: It’s SUCH a great little parable about the oppressions and delusions of the eastern bloc. [„Warum bist du nicht gegangen?“, the old GDR question? „No Man’s Land“, of all places, provided a great, politically mature perspective. „The Dark Knight Rises“… did not do any of this. It just wasn’t a priority of the movie.]
‎10 or 20 years from now, „The Dark Knight Rises“ will look VERY much like a movie of 2012. But I suspect it will not age too well: Chris Nolan raided the iconography of today’s social movements to make the movie seem more timely and relevant. It’s window dressing. It’s hollow. And it really doesn’t do justice to ANY kind of complex economic reality. „http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StrawCharacter?from=Main.StrawmanPolitical

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„Batman“ trade collections…

you might enjoy before (or: after) „The Dark Knight Rises“?

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related Links?

  • 30 years with “Green Lantern”: My interview with Sally Pascale, blogger, feminist and suburban comic book reader [Link]
  • An industry in crisis: My interview with CEB, comic book critic at “Collected Editions” [Link]

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my German comic book journalism:

Funkhaus Europa / Süpermercado: Comic-Empfehlungen Super-Schurken

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Auf WDR Funkhaus Europa (Link) spreche ich am Freitag in der Kultursendung „Süpermercado“ (Link) über… Super-Bösewichter / Schurken… im Superhelden-Comic.

schon jetzt: Empfehlungen für meine 10 Lieblings-Bösewichte im DC-Verlag (Link):

Vier weitere tolle Figuren – R’as al Ghul (Link), seine Tochter Talia (Link), der Riddler (Link) und Wonder Womans Feindin Veronica Cale (Link) – hatten leider noch keine Hauptrollen / Auftritte, die ich komplett gelungen und empfehlenswert fand.

hier: meine Empfehlungen:

  • bei Numerierung: möglichst bei „01“ beginnen.
  • keine Numerierung: Reihenfolge unwichtig.

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Black Adam:

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Lex Luthor:

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Der Joker:

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Maxwell Lord:

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Sinestro:

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Two-Face:

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Harley Quinn:

Catwoman:

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Amanda Waller / Deadshot:

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diverse:

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Wer IST der Bösewicht…? Geheimnisse / Wendungen:

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noch nicht gelesen – aber gute Kritiken:

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enttäuschende Bücher:

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Listen / persönliche Empfehlungen:

  • DC-Superhelden: Die besten Bände / Serien für den Einstieg: [Link]!

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englischsprachige Interviews:

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Journalismus / Comic-Artikel im Berliner Tagesspiegel:

Geschenke 2012: Bücher, DVDs und Comics

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[für eine Übersicht über die besten Bücher, die ich 2011 gelesen habe… hier entlang (Link)!]

[für eine Übersicht aller Geschenke, die ich 2010 machtehier entlang (Link)!]

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die zehn Bücher, die ich am häufigsten verschenke:

die zehn Filme / Serien, die ich gerne empfehle / verschenke:

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Buchtipps sind… sinnlos. In meinem privaten (Zuhause-)Freundeskreis jedenfalls:

Es fällt mir leichter (und wirkt weniger… übergriffig / aufdringlich), auf Amazon Marketplace zwei, drei gebrauchte Ausgaben zu kaufen und zu schenken, als Freunden mit Kaufempfehlungen in den Ohren zu liegen.

Sobald ich denke „Er/sie hätte Spaß, mit diesem Buch“, kaufe ich eine billige Ausgabe.

Hier: Die Bücher und DVDs, die ich 2011 verschenkt habe.

Blau markierte Titel kamen sehr gut an.

Rot markierte Titel kamen schlecht an.

Die Liste für 2010 ist hier (Link).

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Geschenke 2011:

Kinder:

mein Neffe, zum 2. Geburtstag und zu Weihnachten:

  • „Cube Book: Dream Cars“ (Bildband, Link)
  • „Cube Book: Cars“ (Bildband, Link)
  • „Cube Book: People“ (Bildband, Link)
  • „Cube Book: The Earth“ (Bildband, Link)
  • „Cube Book: Baby Animals“ (Bildband, Link)
  • Eric Carle: „Mein allererstes Buch der…“ (Farben, Wörter, Bewegungen)
  • „At the Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Shadow Book.“ (Spielbuch, Link)
  • Frans Lanting: „Eye to Eye. Intimate Encounters with the Animal World“ (Bildband, Link)

Sohn meiner besten Freunde, 3 / 4 Jahre alt:

  • Dr. Seuss / Felicitas Hoppe: „Grünes Ei mit Speck“ (Bilderbuch, Link)
  • Album voller (nerdiger) Ausmal-Bilder (z.B. DAS hier, Link)

Tochter meiner besten Freunde, 9 Jahre alt:

  • Kiyohiko Azuma: „Yotsuba&!“, Band 4 bis 10 (Manga, Link)
  • Jeff Smith: „Bone“ (Fantasy-Comic, Link)
  • „Scribblenauts“ (DS-Spiel, Link)
  • E.B. White: „Wilbur & Charlotte“ (Kinderbuch, Link)
  • Shannon Hale: „Anna fängt Feuer“ (Fantasy-Jugendbuch, Link)
  • „Avatar: Herr der Elemente“, Episoden 1 bis 6 (DVD, Link)
  • “Nausicäa aus dem Tal der Winde“ (DVD, Link)
  • „Ein Herz und eine Krone“ (Hollyood-Klassiker, Link)
  • „Lady Oscar – die Rose von Versailles“, Staffel 1 (DVD, Link)

.

Frauen:

meine Schwester – Schülerin, 18:

  • Sven Regener: „Neue Vahr Süd“ (Roman, Link)
  • David Foster Wallace: „Schrecklich amüsant – aber in Zukunft ohne mich“ (Essay, Link)
  • Gary Shteyngart: „Super Sad True Love Story“ (Roman, Link)
  • Miriam Toews: „Ein komplizierter Akt der Liebe“ (Roman, Link)
  • Kirsten Fuchs: „Die Titanic und Herr Berg“ (Roman, Link)
  • Cormac McCarthy: „Die Straße“ (Roman, Link)
  • Ethan Hawke: „Hin & weg“ (Roman, Link)
  • Kevin Vennemann: „Nahe Jedenew“ (Roman, Link)
  • Stewart O’Nan: „Halloween“ (Roman, Link)
  • Lois Lowry: „The Giver“ (Jugendbuch, Link)
  • Suzanne Collins: „The Hunger Games“ (Jugendbuch, Link)

Pädagogin, 28 – mag Schmöker und weibliche Hauptfiguren:

  • Kathryn Stockett: „Gute Geister“ (Roman, Link)
  • Howard Cruse: „Am Rande des Himmels“ (Graphic Novel, Link)
  • „Mad Men“, Staffel 2 (DVD, Link)

Pädagogin, 28 – mag Klassiker, Reisen und bürgerliche Figuren/Themen:

  • Saree Makdisi: „Palästina: Innenansichten einer Belagerung“ (Sachbuch, Link)
  • Ayelet Waldman: „Böse Mütter“ (Sachbuch, Link)
  • Tove Jansson: „Sommerbuch“ (Roman, Link)
  • Wallace Stegner: „Zeit der Geborgenheit“ (Roman, Link)
  • Jenny Erpenbeck: „Heimsuchung“ (Roman, Link)

Pädagogin, 28 – mag Mangas und Surreales:

  • Kiyohiko Azuma: „Yotsuba&!“, Band 1 und 2 (Manga, Link)
  • Michael Chabon: „Die unglaublichen Abenteuer von Kavalier & Clay“ (Roman, Link)

Pädagogin, 28 – mag Young Adult-Literatur und Schmöker:

  • Nadja Einzmann: „Dies und das und das“ (lit. Portraits, Link)
  • Yasushi Inoue: „Meine Mutter“ (Essay, Link)
  • Lois Lowry: „Hüter der Erinnerung“ (Jugendbuch, Link)
  • Judy Blume: „Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret“ (Jugendbuch, Link)
  • Kazuo Ishiguro: „Der Maler der fließenden Welt“ (Roman, Link)
  • Isabell Allende: „Mein erfundenes Land“ (Essay, Link)
  • A.S. King: „Please don’t hate me: Nichts ist wichtig, wenn man tot ist“ (Jugendbuch, Link)

Journalistin, 28:

  • Annika Scheffel: „Ben“ (Roman, Link. Kein „Geschenk“, sondern weitergegeben, weil ich es schlimm misslungen fand und keinen Wert auf das Buch lege.)
  • Fréderic Martel: “Mainstream. Wie funktioniert, was allen gefällt.“ (Sachbuch, Link)

Bühnentechnikerin, 29:

Regisseurin / Theaterwissenschaftlerin, 29:

  • Joan Didion: „Das Jahr Magischen Denkens“ (Essay, Link)
  • Susan J. Douglas: „Where the Girls are. Growing up Female with Mass Media“ (Cultural Studies, Link)

entfernte Freundin / Angestellte, die kaum Romane liest; zur Hochzeit:

  • Ben Schott: „Schotts Sammelsurium: Sport, Spiel und Müßiggang“ (Trivia, Link)
  • Ben Schott: „Schotts Sammelsurium: Essen und Trinken“ (Trivia, Link)
  • Ben Schott: „Schotts Sammelsurium“ (Trivia, Link)
  • Matthias Stolz: „Deutschlandkarte. 101 unbekannte Wahrheiten.“ (Bildband, Link)
  • David McCandles: „Das BILDERbuch des nützlichen und unnützen Wissens“ (Bildband, Link)

Hausfrau / Beamtin, 32:

  • “One Week“ (DVD, Link)

Verkäuferin; Fan von (Mainstream-)Fantasy und Young-Adult-Literatur, 45:

  • Patricia Briggs: „Ruf des Mondes“ (Fantasy, Link)
  • Sergej Lukianenko: „Wächter der Nacht“ (Fantasy, Link)

Krankenschwester, Mitte 50:

  • Stewart O’Nan: „Das Glück der anderen“ (Roman, Link)
  • Rick Moody: „Der Eissturm“ (Roman, Link)

meine Mutter (ehem. Arzthelferin, Pflegedienstleiterin, Mitte 50):

  • Evan S. Connell: „Liebenswerte Mrs. Bridge“ (Roman, Link; mehr hier: Link)
  • Richard Ford: „Unabhängigkeitstag“ (Roman, Link)
  • Richard Yates: „Zeiten des Aufruhrs“ (Roman, Link)
  • Stephen Chbosky: „Das also ist mein Leben“ (Jugendbuch, Link)
  • „Mad Men“, Staffel 2 (DVD, Link)
  • …sowie verschiedene DVDs (vor allem Dramen, lange Liste hier, Link)

Krankenschwester, Mitte 60, mag Unterhaltungsliteratur und „Schicksale“:

  • Stewart O’Nan: „Alle, alle lieben dich“ (Roman, Link)
  • Kevin Vennemann: „Nahe Jedenew“ (Roman, Link)
  • Björn Kern: „Einmal noch Marseille“ (Roman, Link)

(deutsche) Sprachlehrerin, wuchs in den 60ern in Santa Monica auf:

  •  Susan J. Douglas: „Where the Girls are. Growing up Female with Mass Media“ (Cultural Studies, Link)

.

Männer:

Mein Bruder – Mechatroniker, 25:

  • “Das verflixte siebte Jahr“ (DVD, Link)
  • „Rachels Hochzeit“ (DVD, Link)
  • „Scott Pilgrim gegen den Rest der Welt“ (DVD, Link)

Ingenieur/Maschinenbauer, 27:

Programmierer, 28:

  • George R.R. Martin: „Die Herren von Winterfell“ (Fantasy-Roman, Link)
  • Gary Shteyngart: „Super Sad True Love Story“ (Roman, Link)
  • Tucker Shaw: „Everything I ate: A Year in the Life of my Mouth“ (Bildband, Link)
  • Geoff Johns: „Green Lantern: Secret Origin“ (Superhelden-Comic, Link)

Bankkaufmann, 30:

Second-Hand-Buch-Galore zum 30. Geburtstag:

  • Neil Gaiman: „American Gods“ (Fantasy-Roman, Link)
  • Vladimir Kaminer: „Militärmusik“ (Roman, Link)
  • Paul Auster: „Im Land der letzten Dinge“ (Roman, Link)
  • John Updike: „Rabbit in Ruhe“ (Roman, Link)
  • Richard Ford: „Unabhängigkeitstag“ (Roman, Link)
  • Vladimir Nabokov: „Das Bastardzeichen“ (Roman, Link)
  • Raymond Chandler: „Der lange Abschied“ (Roman, Link)
  • Michael Chabon: „Die unglaublichen Abenteuer von Kavalier & Clay“ (Roman, Link)
  • Truman Capote: „Kaltblütig“ (Roman, Link)
  • Stewart O’Nan: „Das Glück der anderen“ (Roman, Link)
  • Stewart O’Nan: „Die Speed-Queen“ (Roman, Link)
  • Kolja Mensing: „Wie komme ich hier raus? Aufwachsen in der Provinz“ (Essay, Link)
  • Frank Miller: „All-Star Batman & Robin“ (Superhelden-Comic, Link)
  • Greg Rucka: „Batman: No Man’s Land“ (Superhelden-Roman, Link)

…und: eine Runde billiger DVDs, um einen kurzen Krankenhausaufenthalt weniger langweilig zu machen:

  • „The Hurt Locker“ (DVD, Link)
  • „The Cove“ (DVD, Link)
  • „An Education“ (DVD, Link)
  • „Before Sunset“ (DVD, Link)
  • „Letters from Iwo Jima“ (DVD, Link)
  • „Waltz with Bashir“ (DVD, Link)
  • „Das verflixte siebte Jahr“ (DVD, Link)

Künstler / Kurator, 31:

  • Jörn Morisse / Rasmus Engler: „Wovon lebst du eigentlich? Vom Überleben in prekären Zeiten“ (Sachbuch, Link)
  • „Inside Job“ (Doku, Link)

mein Vater, Mechatroniker, Mitte 50:

  • Inside Job (Doku, Link)
  • Tree of Life (Familienfilm, Link)

Grafiker, 59 – mag Südostasien und Oldtimer:

  • Naomi Klein: „Die Schock-Strategie“ (Sachbuch, Link)
  • „Cube Book: Dream Cars“ (Bildband, Link; wollte eine eigene Ausgabe, nachdem er die Bücher meines Neffen gesehen hatte)

.

Geschenke für Paare / junge Eltern:

  • „Ugly Betty“, Staffel 1 (DVD, Link)
  • „Türkisch für Anfänger“, Staffel 1 bis 3 (DVD-Box, Link)
  • „Before Sunset“ (DVD, Link)
  • „Ist das Leben nicht schön?“ (DVD, Link)
  • „Vanilla Sky“ (DVD, Link)
  • „Das verflixte siebte Jahr“ (DVD, Link)

.

Geschenke für Freunde aus Kanada / Toronto:

.

(weibl.) Office Manager (…und großer Familienmensch), 27, zur Hochzeit:

  • Monika Maron: „Animal Triste“ (Roman, engl. Ausg., Link)
  • Joan Didion: „The Year of Magical Thinking“ (Essay, Link)
  • Yasushi Inoue: „Chronicle of my Mother“ (Essay, Link)
  • Randy Pausch: „The Last Lecture“ (Essay, Link)
  • Simone de Beauvoir: „She came to Stay“ (Roman, Link)

Grafiker / Animator, 30:

  • Gabriel Bà, Fabio Moon: „Daytripper“ (Graphic Novel, Link)
  • Alissa Torres: „American Widow“ (Graphic Novel, Link; nicht zu empfehlen)
  • Marjane Satrapi: „Persepolis“ (Graphic Novel, Link; nicht zu empfehlen)
  • Apostolos Doxiadis: „Logicomix“ (Graphic Novel, Link; nicht zu empfehlen)
  • David Small: „Stitches“ (Graphic Novel, Link)

PR-Frau, 30:

  • Alison Bechdel: Fun Home (Graphic Novel, Link)
  • Suzanne Collins: „The Hunger Games“ (Jugendbuch, Link)

Webcomic-Zeichnerin / Feministin, 31:

  • Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale: „Catwoman: When in Rome“ (Graphic Novel, Link)
  • Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker: „Gotham Central, Vol 1.“ (Graphic Novel, Link)

Bibliothekar (und Farmerssohn), Ende 30:

  • Josh Kilmer-Purcell: “The Bucolic Plague“ (Essay/Memoir, Link)

Filmemacher / Aktivist, 60:

  • Judd Winick: „Pedro and me“ (Graphic Novel, Link)
  • „Pedro“ (Biopic/Drama, Link)

Pädagogin / Feminstin / Couchsurferin in spe, 60:

  • Anne Lamott: „Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life“ (Essay, Link)

.

verwandte Links:

[gebloggt auf ocelot.de] Superman? Batman? Alles auf Anfang!

Heldencomics in der Krise: Bei DC Comics werden 52 neue Heftreihen zum Bestseller. Die „New 52“ wollen Start- und Einstiegspunkte sein – für neue, jüngere Leser.

Von Stefan Mesch

„Gäste zum Kaffee“, die gemütliche Talkrunde im MDR-Magazin „Hier ab vier“, hat jeden Nachmittag etwa 160.000 Zuschauer. „Detective Comics“, das monatliche Heft, in dem Batman seit 1939 Verbrecher jagt, wurde Mitte 2011 nur knappe 60.000 Mal verkauft.

Als Marke, Spielzeug und im Kino bringen selbst unbekanntere Figuren wie Green Lantern oder die „Avengers“ Profite. Doch Comics selbst? Die monatlichen, zwanzigseitigen Fortsetzungshefte für 2.99 Dollar? Dort sterben Superman und Wonder Woman seit knapp 20 Jahren einen Tod auf Raten.

„Die größten Helden der Welt. Die größten Autoren und Künstler. In 52 neuen, ersten Heften“, versprach DC Comics im Herbst 2011 in einer pompösen Kino- und TV-Kampagne: Konkurrent Marvel Comics, Herausgeber von „Spider-Man“, „Hulk“ und den „X-Men“, wurde 2009 vom Disney-Konzern gekauft. DC Comics gehört zu Warner Brothers. Durch Videospiele, Filmrechte und Merchandise verdienen beide Konzerne gutes Geld mit jeweils Hunderten Heldenfiguren. Doch ist das Kerngeschäft, die Comics selbst, zu retten?

Vielleicht schon, zeigt die Bestseller-Überraschung der „New 52“: Noch im August 2011 veröffentlichte DC Hefte wie „Batman 713“ oder „Action Comics 904“. Dann brachen alle Geschichten ab: Ein Riss zerstörte die Zeitrechnung des gemeinsamen „DC Universe“ und 52 neue, teils eng verknüpfte Serien zeigten seit September 2011 alle bekannten Helden plötzlich in neuen, einsteigerfreundlichen Situationen. Zum ersten Mal seit 1986 wagt die DC-Welt einen Neuanfang. Und er gelingt – künstlerisch und kommerziell.

Selten waren aktuelle Heldencomics flirrender und aufregender als auf den 1216 Seiten in 52 neuen, beliebig kombinierbaren Erstausgaben: 28 neue Serien handeln von Männern (davon viermal Batman), 18 von Gruppen oder Teams, nur sechs haben eine Frau als Titelfigur. Es gibt ein (überraschend gutes) Wildwest-Comic, zwei mittelmäßige SoldatenAbenteuer, eine Handvoll blutiger Horror-Serien. Die „Demon Knights“ kämpfen im Mittelalter, die vier „Green Lantern“-Teams im Weltall, „Legion of Super-Heroes“ im Jahr 3011 und „Batwing“ im Kongo.

„Wer Comics oder Seifenopern verfolgt, der folgt nicht einzelnen Geschichten – sondern Figuren, die ihm im Lauf der Zeit ans Herz gewachsen sind“, schreibt Nelson Branco. Doch seit September haben Sympathieträger wie Nightwing, Batwoman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman und Animal Man endlich besonders zugängliche Erzähler, besonders eindringliche Plots (Empfehlungen: am Ende des Artikels).

Der große Neustart – ab Juli auch auf Deutsch, bei Panini Comics – hat nur ein Problem: Egal, wie klug und charismatisch die Figuren sind… die Welt um sie herum ist plötzlich so naiv, schwarzweiß und finster wie nie zuvor. In jedem zweiten Heft gibt es geheime Labors, in denen inkompetente Wissenschaftler schreckliche Wesen züchten. Polizisten sind korrupt oder hilflos, Politiker gehen über Leichen, Freunde und Eltern sind Belastungen statt einer Stütze – und nur ein Einziger agiert mit Mitgefühl, Verstand und Engagement: der einsame, oft isolierte und missverstandene Held.

Als Hollywood in den Fünfzigern die Jugend als Markt und eigene Zielgruppe entdeckte, fanden billige Monster-Filme wie „I was a Teenage Werewolf“ neue, griffige Metaphern für die Entfremdung vom eigenen Körper, für Außenseitertum und Angst. Anfang der Sechziger griff Marvel Comics diesen Tonfall auf: „Spider-Man“ zeigte ein pubertäres, unbedarftes Schulkind, „X-Men“ eine Clique aus missverstandenen Monstern.

Noch heute werden viele Marvel-Helden in der fiktiven Weltordnung ihrer Comics diskriminiert, bekämpft und verachtet. Sie finden keine Liebe und brechen sich gegenseitig das Herz. Sie bleiben neurotisch, neidisch, unzufrieden, voller Selbsthass und Hormone. „Die Hälfte von ihnen sind Außenseiter mit begrenzten Kräften, die sich abkämpfen für eine Welt, in der sie nie richtig gewürdigt werden“, erklärt Comichändler Scipio Garling. „Die andere Hälfte sind unfassbar mächtige, kosmische Wesen von unvorstellbarer Kraft und… Plattheit.“

Beide Persönlichkeiten sind attraktive Rollenbilder für Macht- und Hilflose, für Underdogs, Opfer der Umstände: „Typ 1 trifft das Selbstbild eines Jugendlichen. Typ 2 entspricht dem Wunschbild eines Jugendlichen“, vereinfacht Garling. „Sei stark und zäh, denn unsere Welt ist voller Unglück. Du hast es nicht verschuldet. Aber du kannst es auch nie abschaffen… Das ist die Marvel-Botschaft.“

Reiz und Stärke der DC-Helden dagegen stammt aus einer bürgerlichen, viel positiveren Haltung zur Rolle des Einzelnen in der Welt. „DC sagt: Du bist verantwortlich dafür, dich selbst und die Gesellschaft zu verbessern. Sei stark und zäh, um dieser Verantwortung gerecht zu werden.“

Die Marvel-Figur Iron Man, ein stolzer Erfinder und Millionär, würde auch gut zu den DC-Figuren passen. Supergirl, ein verwirrtes und unglückliches Waisenkind, wäre bei Marvel besser aufgehoben. Bei vielen Helden aber bleibt die große Unterscheidung überraschend trennscharf: Wonder Woman (DC), Botschafterin der Amazonen, ist tatsächlich engagierte Diplomatin. Clark Kent (DC), Supermans bürgerliches Ich, hat einen Pulitzerpreis. Green Arrow (DC) lebt als moderner Robin Hood – und lässt sich zum Bürgermeister wählen, um nicht allein die bloßen Symptome sozialer Ungerechtigkeit zu bekämpfen.

DC-Helden wollen – als Bürger und in ihren Kostümen – arbeiten, Einfluss nehmen, ein Vorbild sein. Sie vertrauen ihren Familien, engagieren sich im Beruf. Sie suchen Partnerschaft und Respekt statt Ruhm und Sex; sie trennen den Müll und setzen globale Zeichen. Egal, ob gerade jemand zusieht oder nicht.

Der Held im neuen “Aquaman” dagegen hat keine Lust mehr, König von Atlantis zu sein: Er will Entspannung an Land und bestellt erstmal Fish and Chips. Der Held in „Green Lantern“ ist arbeitslos und kann sich kein Auto leisten. „Hawkman“ verbrennt sein Kostüm und liegt jammernd in seiner verdreckten Wohnung. In „Static Shock“ verbietet ein Vater seinem (Helden-)Sohn, den Führerschein zu machen. Die Hauptfigur in „Voodoo“ muss als Stripperin arbeiten. In „Action Comics“ wird Superman von der korrupten Regierung gejagt.

Miese Jobs. Böser Staat. Wirtschaftskrise. Schlechte Karten!

“Unsere Zielgruppe sind Männer zwischen 18 und 34 Jahren”, erklärt der DC-Verlag. Eure Zielgrupe, korrigiere ich nach der Lektüre von 52 ersten Heften, sind Verlierer, Zyniker, Nörgler und Versager. Fans von Selbstmitleid und Zweifeln. Wie bei Marvel:

Seit September hat Lois Lane einen neuen Freund – Superman konnte nie bei ihr landen. Seit September ist Green Arrow ein jugendlicher, legendär reicher Playboy – apolitisch und plump. Auch Familie Reyes, die respektvollen, bisher immens sympathischen Eltern des jungen Blue Beetle, sind plötzlich streng und hilflos: „Früher erfuhr Blue Beetle Zuspruch und Unterstützung von Freunden und Familie. Aber das Heldenleben ist nunmal kein Zuckerschlecken!“, feixt Autor Tony Bedard. „Ich mache ihm alles deutlich schwerer!”

Es ist nicht schwer, Geschichten zu erzählen, in denen ein Held alleine in einem Sumpf aus Mittelmaß und Dummheit steht. Es ist nicht schwer, „der Gute“ zu sein, so lange alle Gegenseiten nachtschwarz und bitterböse bleiben. Viele neue DC-Reihen sind schmissig – aber brutal vereinfacht, geist- und einfallslos.

Besonders die weiblichen DC-Figuren leiden unter diesem Kurswechsel: Denn seit September werden sie mit dickerem, plakativen Pinselstrich gezeichnet. Amanda Waller, eine bullige, intrigante Regierungsagentin Ende 40, vor der selbst Batman zittterte, hat plötzlich eine Wespentaille und feuchte, pralle Lippen. Fast 30 Jahre lang war Starfire eine lebensfrohe, entspannte Romantikerin. Jetzt bietet sie jedem Mann spontanen Sex an. Beinahe fünf Jahre lang waren Catwoman und Batman ein Liebespaar: Sie kannten die Gesichter hinter der Maske, vertrauten sich beruflich wie privat.

Der „Catwoman“-Neustart tilgt diesen Respekt und das Vertrauen: „Sie ist süchtig nach der Nacht. Süchtig nach Glanz. Süchtig nach Batman. Und süchtig nach der Gefahr!” Eine leichtsinnige Diebin, getrieben von Instinkt und Libido. Eine Figur, gezeichnet, um begafft zu werden – nicht bewundert.

Am Ende des September-Hefts taucht Batman in Catwomans (ergaunertem) Penthouse auf. Sie stürzt sich auf ihn wie eine räudige Katze. Und erklärt dem Leser, sie wisse gar nicht richtig, wer dieser Mann ist – es sei auch egal: Ihr reicht Batmans Körper. Sex auf dem Fußboden. Maskierte, gierige Fremde. „Und die Kostüme lassen wir größtenteils an.“

DC Comics ist ein flüssiger, süffiger, schwungvoller Neustart geglückt, mit vielen bemerkenswerten Zeichnern und einer Handvoll klugen und subtilen Autoren. Doch diese neue Welt der Helden ist auch, deutlich wie nie: ein Bekenntnis zum Schund. Zum Sexismus. Zur Gewalt. Und zu einer jungen, männlichen, naiven Leserschaft, die sich nicht viel zutraut. Und nicht viel erwartet.

sechs Empfehlungen für Neueinsteiger: „The Flash“ (Panini), „Action Comics“ (Panini), „Batman“, „Justice League“ (Panini), „DC Universe presents: Deadman“

sechs Empfehlungen für Fans: „Batman & Robin“ (Panini), „Batwoman“ (Panini), „Wonder Woman“, „Birds of Prey“, „Swamp Thing“, „Animal Man“ (Panini)

Enttäuschungen und Schund: „Detective Comics“ (Panini), „Deathstroke“, „Red Hood and the Outlaws“, „Red Lanterns“ (Panini), “Legion Lost”, “Catwoman” (Panini)

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related Links:

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my German comic book journalism: