Monday, November 10, 2014

Detective Comics by Manapul & Buccelatto issue #34

What the FUCK just happened?

Holy dearest Loki, it's me Eka. I just want to ask your eminence: am I still even reading the same story?

If it wasn't for Manapul and Buccalleto's consistently magnificent illustrations and the fact that they were still credited here as the writers, then I would have believed that someone else forced them by gunpoint and wrote this finale for the Icarus arc.

It's like watching True Detective and suddenly getting a conclusion more akin to insert-your-subpar-choice-of-testosterone-action-flick-here.

I think my shock can only be captured succinctly by a series of punctuations so here they are: ?????!!!!!!??!?!!

I've been giving this story arc a consistent four-star rating (8 or 9 out 10 in my personal scale) but this concluding installment was...I wouldn't say terrible but more UNFIT, UNEXPECTED and FLATOUT IRRECONCILABLE. It was disappointing for the sole reason that it ended so drastically differently from the way it started. There was depth, complexity and emotional weight in the previous four issues that moved me and made me enjoy reading Detective Comics in a way I never had even with the previous writer John Layman whom I absolutely adored. And then this landed on my lap. If I had a ball sack, it would have been blue by now. If I have been sporting an erection for this story arc (which, in fairness and as seen in my reviews of the other four, I may have been because it was that damn Loki-level of sexy) then my non-existent boner has been squeezed to death because of how this story ended. I don't understand how it went from a meditative and gloomy story rife with strong characterizations and a cinematic layout to this...whatever the unholy fuck this was.

I'm sounding a lot harsher than I intended which you may unsuspectingly believe is a guarantee that you should never bother with Icarus anymore. I couldn't blame you but YOU ARE WRONG to believe that you shouldn't read this anymore. YOU SHOULD. It was remarkable visually because Manapul and Buccelatto are art angels who decided to cross the threshold of our mortal existence just to grant us this richly vivid noir tapestry that surpassed what I think is possible in Detective Comics. It gave me a thinking and crime-solving Batman who is reminiscent of the old-school caped crusader. Every scene on page looks like it's dying to be painted on a cathedral somewhere in France  or Italy (how awesome would that be, seriously?).

The truth for the matter is that this issue ended with a generic comic-book pay-off that's merely passable in a good day and disappointing at best. It totally defeats the purpose of its conception and development in the first place. But it did not truly diminish it. Icarus is still one of the best things I've read in a Bat-title, and you should still read it. I encourage you. I appeal to your sensibilities even. Who knows, maybe you'll be fine with the ending because that's what it was ultimately: It was FINE. For a story that unfolded with a great command of its scenery, characters and exposition, it just went out with a whimper (or, in this case, with a series of literal explosions and misplaced action sequences that underhanded its more intimate and intellectual aspects).

My rating for this finale is still based on the fact that I loved the previous four so it's higher than I would have given it as itself but definitely lower in comparison with the other installments.


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