When industrial heir Bruce Wayne's parents are gunned down
before his very eyes, he makes a fateful promise to their
memory. He will fight crime and injustice, and turn fear against
those who prey on the fearful. But first he must conquer his
bat-tastic volume contains the official comic-book adaptation
of the above-named movie, together with four other Batman
stories, each of which explores the psyche of the Dark Knight.
I do wonder why it is necessary to supplement Batman Begins,
when what would surely have been a preferable page-filling
solution would be a lengthier take on the movie. At 141 minutes,
Batman Begins is a film of considerable depth and scope,
yet here it is condensed to just 64 pages of comic strip.
As a result, Bruce's journey up the mountain on page 17 seems
to be over rather quickly, while on page 34 Rachel Dawes makes
an astonishing leap of intuition regarding the crime boss
Falcone paying off Judge Faden.
can understand why some movie adaptations would need to be
kept relatively short. After all, these things cost money
to make. But surely any comic with the words "Batman Begins"
on the cover is bound to sell well.
any deficiencies in the pacing are more than made up for by
the art. Penciller Kilian Plunkett and inker Serge LaPoint
not only provide detailed and dynamic imagery, but their likenesses
of Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Liam Neeson are flawless.
Their renderings of Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman and Rutger Hauer
are less successful. Gordon looks more like a young Albert
Einstein than Oldman. However, in the case of Rachel her disassociation
from the actress Holmes is actually a good thing, because
it means she looks less like a teenager and more like someone
who might actually be old enough to have become a district
Jose Villarrubia provides a suitably sombre, muted colour
four other stories in this collection are The Man Who Falls
(from the Secret Origins trade paperback), Air Time
(from Detective Comics #757), Reasons (from
Batman #604) and Urban Legend (from Legends
of the Dark Knight #168).
Man Who Falls appears to have provided some inspiration
for the movie. It includes not only the standard ingredients
of a Batman origin story, such as Bruce's fall into the batcave,
the shooting of his parents, and the bat in his study, but
also Bruce's training under an Oriental master and a Frenchman
called Ducard. As in Batman Begins, Bruce is forced
to repel those around him to prevent them from getting too
theme of falling continues through Air Time, which
concerns a race against the clock to save a family whose car
has tumbled into a river, and Urban Legend, which begins
with the dramatic image of a badly injured Batman crashing
to the ground from a height.
Reasons, Batman revisits the site of his parents' murder
and later re-evaluates his own persona. Both this and Air
Time demonstrate that the comic-strip Batman now makes
sensible use of Kevlar, even though he continues to appear
as though he is wearing only a body stocking.
Legend is the pick of the crop, a witty and harrowing
examination of the public's perception of Batman, with a great
twist at the end. The tense Air Time comes a close
in all, this is a fine collection, and a good place for Batman
newcomers to begin.
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