Having read the reviews on before buying the book I expected Smith and Flanagan to really have dropped the ball with their mini series with Smith making Batman sound like Jay and Flanagan drawing Batman as a stick man But y know what It wasn t bad I ve read worse Batman books and I kind of enjoyed this While in Arkham, Joker is targeted by DeadShot who is taken out by a mysterious new villain whose only utterings are the verbal sounds made by actions in comic books Pow Zap Etc Joker finds out that his joker poison has been cut with ecstasy to become a popular party drug, chuckles Joker takes his revenge on Maxie Zeus, the guy who spread the drug, while Batman tries to lock up Joker and capture this new villain at the same time Smith s script isn t nearly as bad as some of the reviews would have you believe though there are some odd moments I knew your ego would trump what s left of your common sense says Batman to the Joker cringe and Baruch haba, scumbag It s not like Smith s the first Batman writer to drop howlers into his scripts remember Frank Miller s All Star Batman Who am I I m the GODDAMN BATMAN Also if you re a Smith fan and listen to SModcast his weekly podcast you ll be familiar with his speech patterns and notice some of his own inflections in the voices of DeadShot and Joker throughout Overall though Smith does a good job and I was interested to find out who Cacophony really was Flanagan meanwhile isn t Jim Lee or Andy Kubert when he comes to draw the Dark Knight but again I didn t think it was the worst depiction of Batman What about Tim Sale s in Dark Victory Sam Kieth s in Secrets Even again sorry Miller fans Frank Miller s Strikes Again a book seemingly written on the fly in snatched moments I ve seen worse and I feel Flanagan s getting better having seen recent issues of Widening Gyre I ll say it s not the best Batman book out there and Smith deflates any high expectations you might have even before you ve started the book with his introduction Enjoy the second best Batman book I ve written but having read a ton of Batman, it s a decent read and good fun I really enjoyed it.
In what will surely be my last Kevin Smith related review for a while, I recently finished his first attempt at Batman Smith is joined by long time friend and comic book artist, Walt Flanagan as they work together to bring the Dark Knight s world to life with Batman Cacophony In terms of the most recent graphic novels that I ve been reading, this was a breeze Clocking in at a dismal 144 pages, I flew through this book with ease In this particular story, Joker is locked away at Arkham Asylum while little known villain, Maxie Zeus is out in Gotham manufacturing a less intense, street drug version of Joker s poison Joker Venom , calling it Chuckles Before Joker learns of this, he foils an assassination attempt on himself by Deadshot when he is interrupted by a villain created by Smith Flanagan Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia and Joker escape from Arkham, Joker learns of the altering of said poison and makes a b line for Maxie Zeus, vowing revenge In the foreward to Smith s Batman outing, he explains that he feels he could have done a lot better I know that the material didn t really receive a lot of praise or critical acclaim but that doesn t mean you should apologize for your work right out of the gate It s true that Smith has made a career out of self deprecation for comedic purposes but this seemed really serious Granted, he did admit that a longer 12 issues and better effort is on the way, it still really deflated me even before I read the first page The book as a whole isn t bad but at times it s too slow and really struggled to find its identity Smith writes an entertaining Joker to say the least and Flanagan illustrates a different Batman but in the end, like Smith had said, it falls short of his past comic attempts Smith really tried to create an iconic conversation between a calm and mentally stable Joker and Batman that ultimately feels anti climatic The idea is perfect and the message is there but this dialouge feels recycled and stale I have high hopes for their second outing as I dig Walt s art and Smith has proven his writing skills time and time again Let s hope it delivers.
This is not the best or the worst Batman story out there It s simply ok read it Don t read it The choice is yours.
I haven t read Give Kevin Smith a lot of credit he s a heck of a saleman.
Listening to his newest podcast Fat Man on Batman and hearing Smith reference his work on two Batman mini series intrigued me enough to seek out the books and give them a try Thankfully, my local library has a copy of both collections saving me time and frustration in tracking them down First up is Cacophony, a three part story about a gang war that erupts when Maxie Zues begins mixing the Joker s lethal smile inducing compound in low levels with various street drugs The new mixture is the hottest thing for getting high in Gotham and the Joker isn t happy about his compound being used for this without his knowledge In the middle of this is the Smith created villain, Onomatopoeia As Smith says in his introduction, the dialogue in the first issue is a bit of a question mark but it improved thanks to feedback and Smith s desire to revise it Smith goes on to say that this is the second best Batman story he and collaborator Walt Flannigan could dream up and that it set the stage for a much longer, substantial story to come Maybe this revelation should have been kept for an afterward since it immediately puts you in the mind set of looking for flaws in the story and finding the ones that Smith points out The examination of the long dance of the Batman and the Joker and their twisted co dependent relationship isn t necessarily anything new or groundbreaking, but it is interesting under Smith s writing Whatever else you can say about Smith, the man has an ear for dialogue and the debate between the two in issue three is very compelling.
I appreciated the effort of the conversation between Batman and Joker during the latter s moment of clarity The idea Joker expresses I don t hate you because I m crazy, I m crazy because I hate you is an interesting frame for the relationship and one worthy of considering.
But there are two critical points of awfulness in Cacophony.
First, the main villain is rather pointless Onomatopoeia has no outward motivation he s a collector Really He has no powers other than the requisite Batman like toughness And his sound gimmick seems like a Tourette s symptom than the sign of a criminal mastermind During his first fight scene, I initially thought he had the power to create reality by mimicking sounds creating bullets by making their sounds, etc That, I thought, held some promise But when I reread the scene, I realized that the sounds were incidental to the actions, and really, just silly.
The second, bigger problem, is that to get to any resolution, readers have to get through all of Kevin Smith s dialogue which, unfortunately, sounds like Kevin Smith dialogue There s nothing wrong with Kevin Smith dialogue I like it in his films But his verbosity doesn t connect with my idea of who Batman is And it pulls me right out of the book.
What I Liked The conversations, there s a really great one with Jim Gordon and Batman on wether to let the Joker die or not, and another with Batman and the Joker on if the other truly wants each other to die There s a great moment when the Joker realizes a joke after Deadshot is taken down by a head shot, and can not contain himself I liked Batman using some of Deadshot s technology Onomatopoeia as a villain is terrifying, and I loved the reveal at the end for his character Since Kevin Smith is known for his dick and fart jokes I was not surprised by this, for the most part they landed, on exchange with the Joker seeing Batman Junk when he changed was funny especially Alfred s comment on it What I Disliked There s a rape joke that kind failed, featuring the Joker and Onomatopoeia where Joker misinterprets their relationship thinking he wants to rape him which the Joker seems all to willing to comply, which seemed a bit too much.
Recommendations I really enjoyed myself it was funny, action packed and well drawn I really recommend this one but there is the trigger warning of extreme violence and rape discussed, that not everyone will enjoy I rated this short graphic novel 5 out of 5 stars I bought this one and the sequel The Widening Gyre at the same time and will read it soon since I enjoyed this one so much.
Full disclosure and a much needed disclaimer I ve been a fan of Walt Flanagan ever since his podcast Tell Em Steve Dave and AMC show Comic Book Men, and finding out that he was the artist for Kevin Smith s series of Batman stories was a highly pleasurable discovery, so in reading Cacophony, I retained that bias Nevertheless, I m still able to view most of his illustrations for this comic book critically I acknowledge that he has a potential to become a full pledged professional artist and Cacophony has showcased that, though I think he definitely needs a focused work regimen if he ever hopes to break the mold of his initial attempts, and come up with a nuanced and remarkable result, artistically speaking.
But I digress because I am getting way ahead of myself I should begin to put things in better perspective for Kevin Smith s script for Cacophony first which wasn t entirely as mediocre as most reviews I ve read online make it to be The writing is entertaining at best, filled with sparkling dialogue and witty humor, most especially with the way he interpreted and conveyed the Joker s character I didn t have any problems with his Batman at all but that s probably my prerogative I truly enjoyed the insights he put in pertaining to the dynamics between Batman and the Joker, and my most favorite scenes are definitely whenever Bruce Wayne and Alfred are conversing For the former, I believe Smith didn t really contribute much to the already established twisted relationship between Batman and the Joker, but he did emphasize the reluctant co dependency that is shared between them, and how uncomfortably hypocritical it is for Batman to let the Joker live in blind hopes that there is still something worth saving, given the clown prince of crime s exhausting list of inhumane deeds that also personally affected Batman as a human being.
For the latter, it never fails to make my insides go soft every time his trusted butler hits the sweet spot when it comes to the motivation that drives most of Bruce Wayne s actions, both as a crime fighter and as a noble man with a code Here Smith shows that Alfred truly is the one person in the world who understood him best because he is the closest thing to a family he had left and that therefore gives him the great opportunity to unmask Batman better than everyone else.
I could tell that Kevin Smith understands Batman in a way that I have embraced him as a childhood hero, and I suppose that is the immediate charm and appeal of Cacophony You get the sense that this is truly something written by a long time fan for equally emotionally attached fans like himself and my own Going back to Walt Flanagan s art there is so much that he could have done and he does get a chance to develop those potentials I ve read that he had improved his work in The Widening Gyre , and I suppose I will give him a pass here since this is his first debut and it clearly shows In time I sure hope he refines his style and execution, just as much as I hope that Smith adds dimension, flavor and a much needed substance to his storylines for the Dark Knight.
5 10Worth the look through especially if you re a fan of either or both writer and artist DO read MY BATMAN COMICS REVIEWS AT I m not exactly a fan of Kevin Smith but I have a certain amount of respect for him based on his reputation as a major comic book fan and writer, so I m sorry to have to say that I really didn t enjoy this story arc I ll keep this brief because I don t want to bash this, I just want to state what I didn t like.
Granted, it s a short 3 issue arc, but there is no resolution I hate that The villain is just plain dumb His thing is only mimicking sounds, not what other people say which could have made for some humorous moments at least , if a gun goes off he says bang , something breaks crash , someone gets punched thump , things like that What s worse is that most of it isn t actual words like that Have you ever tried to spell out how breaking glass actually sounds Of course not Why not It looks dumb, that s why not And this comic is full of stuff that looks dumb, but we ll talk about that later His gimmick is so lame even batman comments on it He says something to the effect of these villains are running out of good ideas No, they HAVE run out of good ideas The Joker is of a pervert than he is a psychopath Oh, and have you ever wondered what the Joker would look like with a beard Well the artist hasn t either apparently and yet he still tried to draw him with one How about Bruce Wayne with pre pubescent my first mustache stache Yup, we get that too.
And speaking of art It s atrocious and juvenile at best I don t think I ve ever seen a less intimidating Batman drawn If I find out that one of Kevin s actual 10 year old relatives drew it, I will take this back and add a star to my review, until then however I am assuming that someone was paid as a professional artist to do this and my opinion stands Okay, maybe I wanted to bash it a little but I will say one positive thing and then one negative thing He makes a valiant attempt at a clear, heartfelt, revealing conversation between Bats and a semi sane and stable Joker which produced exactly one worthwhile and memorable piece of dialog this is not word for word, so as not to be too spoilery I don t hate you because I m crazy, I m crazy because I hate you Once you re dead, I ll hang it all up and stop killing people I don t know Relatively brilliant, however, the entire scene which this takes place within turns Batman into a 6 tall pansy in a leotard and cape It almost completely undoes everything Alan Moore accomplished in The Killing Joke Sacrilege.