Thursday, February 11, 2010

We've seen Batman waving a pistol around here before, and shooting away with rubber bullets, so here's Batman ready for all-out war. Don't worry, though: he's shooting "fast-acting tranquilizer darts," in Batman: the Cult #4, written by Jim Starlin, pencils by Berni Wrightson, inks by Bill Wray.

Damnedest thing: I only had issue #4 back when this came out in 1988, and I think I even had a spare copy from a friend's collection. I think I did eventually read the whole thing sometime, but #4 does a good job of catching you up. Conman and cultist Deacon Blackfire is two for three in his goals: 1. Beat Batman. 2. Take over Gotham City with his army of homeless. 3. Die a martyr's death.

While Batman's recovered mostly from the physical aspects of his torture, the drugging and brainwashing has taken a toll: Bruce is having nightmares of his parents as corpses, accusing him of abandoning Gotham; and describes himself as "nothing but broken glass inside." (Admittedly, Bruce might be having that nightmare just so Wrightson can draw the hell out of it.)
Insert Tea Party joke here...too soon?
The Cult obviously came out post-Dark Knight Returns, both in the prestige-formatting, and the use (or overuse) of the TV-screen shaped talking heads panels, the tank-style Batmobile, and Robin as a soldier. In fact, aside from possibly The Man Who Has Everything, this is probably the most bad-ass Jason Todd Robin story: while later stories would have you believe Jason was a loose cannon, incapable or unwilling to follow any orders; here he's got Batman's back the whole way.

Even without the rest of the series, I liked this one. I know Starlin and Wrightson would reunite for Punisher: P.O.V. at Marvel, but I don't think I've read it.


Sea-of-Green said...

Rambo Robin!

SallyP said...

Well, that's something you don't see every day.

Fanboy Wife said...

Hawkman's head's a hawk and he has a mace? Awesome!