Friday, August 27, 2010

Batman: Faces

Grade: G
Title: Batman: Faces
Author AND Artist: Matt Wagner

Batman: Faces was an ... interesting read because it was based around an intruiging idea; however, the way it was executed was painfully weak for a number of reasons. To begin, the introduction typifies the book it is introducing. It made some interesting points (like his item about Ted Bundy and Jeffery Dahmer - intruiged, aren't you! now you have to read it), but it was a bit clunky and heavy-handed.

Looking at the above image, you can see that the art can be quite weak. Part of the problem, for me, is the way it is colored. While, the other part is the awkward penciling, which causes the story to be arrested and to suffer.

On the other hand, Wagner does make nice use of the comic book medium. For example, the above page shows an interesting play with the way space in comic books seems to control time and hwo we experience them in this form. He successfully presents six separate panels at the same time while not disturbing the story. An excellent example of what the comic book form is capable of.

Yet again, he loses the power and expertise that he had gained with spreads like the above. Few things in the comic book medium annoy me more than when the words or images are not needed. There is no reason to say what is about to happen. If Batman needs to create a diversion and then does so - there is no reason to say that. that is what really bothered me in the so called "classic" X-men story God Loves, Man Kills (even though I do enjoy that title). A girl in that story thinks "I'm going to walk across the street" and then preceeds to walk across the street. Irritatingly pointless! Nothing makes me lose my patience with a comic book faster.
The most compelling aspect of this story, as I mentioned before, is the idea behind it: the way Two-Face handles the other freaks (taking this term from the self-titled circus troup in the 1932 movie Freaks). He has collected, kidnapped, and gathered a number of people with deformities in order to populate an island where they can live without suffering from oppresion by so-called "normal people." It is very interestign because while Two-Face is attempting to achieve justice, the "freaks" say things like "I was happy" and "I miss my family," showing that they were able to create "normal" lives for themselves.

Thus, it was an interesting enough idea to merit one read, but nothing to run and buy. I would reccommend that you rent it from your local library. Until next time; go enjoy some art!

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