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Friday, June 16, 2006

Clearing Up A Mystery

There seems to be some confusion over a review on Comiclist. Particularly perplexed are the folks over at AiT/Planet Lar and More Cobwell. The mystery is how excerpts of Michael Vance's review of Electric Girl, posted here on Wednesday, (just scroll down a bit) first showed up on Charles LePage's Comiclist last Friday. Rick Rottman of More Cobwell even notes that LePage's piece seems to contain "chunks borrowed from the other" review. Well, let me set your mind at ease, gentlemen. There is no time-travel involved here. Nor is LePage linking to "stuff that doesn't exist yet." Suspended Animation is a syndicated column, and new reviews pop up every Friday on various websites. The only real mystery here? Why the reviews don't show up every Friday on the reviewers' own blog. Answer? I'm slow. Not the most satisfying of mysteries, I know, but there you have it.

Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty, published by D.C. Comics, 128 pages, $14.95

Easily one of the most recognizable comic book characters in the world, Batman has appeared in many different kinds of stories, by many different creators. However, Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty, is one of the more imaginative works in recent years. In an alternate reality, the Wayne family carries the mantle of The Batman for generations. And, from the Middle Ages, to the present day, to the far-flung future, they continually encounter one man in particular; the immortal Vandal Savage.

Writer Mike W. Barr pens an easily enjoyable trilogy, though I believe his best work comes in the third story. Whereas the first two deal with a single Wayne character and his motivations in a straightforward manner, the last concerns a pair of siblings sharing the rule of the family empire, and makes the greatest headway in the building of characters and plot development. And, though "Batman and Rodney" may sound laughable, it works. Now, if THAT does'nt peak your curiosity....

Equally pleasing, however, is the book's amazing art work. With the elaborate, textured paints of Scott Hampton, the dynamic and extremely superheroic pencils and inks of Gary Frank and Cam Smith, and the dark, edgy art and finishes by Scott McDaniel and Bill Sienkiewicz, this book contains enough contrast to please any fan of comics or great art. There is also much to be said for the different art teams giving each story, as well as their respective time periods, a distinctive look.

This book also demonstrates what I believe to be a superior method of comics production, from the standpoint of cost, as well as consumption by the mainstream of society. Sequential stories told in attractive book form, instead of single pamphlets.

With Dark Knight Dynasty, readers have the sense of a beginning, middle and end, all neatly wrapped in an attractive package. What more could a reader want?

Find it in comics shops and online retailers and auctions.

Review by Mark Allen