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Subj: Re: Okay, did anyone see that coming? (Earth 2 Annual 2 spoilers)
Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 02:22:22 pm EST (Viewed 454 times)
Reply Subj: Okay, did anyone see that coming? (Earth 2 Annual 2 spoilers)
Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 02:38:22 pm EST (Viewed 35 times)
Thomas Wayne snr came right out of the blue, I certainly was not expecting this, but credit to Tom Tyler who developed a reasonably credible backstory and gave us the knowledge that before he died Bruce Wayne did find out his father faked his death and was alive and... fairly well.
Some quick observations and comments:
I thought Tom Tyler's plot construction was very good indeed for the most part, opening the story with a welcome tale from yesteryear as we follow Bruce Wayne/Batman on a routine murder case that involves Joe Chill turning up dead. The trail quickly leads him to the address of an upper class criminal who may be next on the list and a bombshell as this rich boy mentions Thomas Wayne's name... a chain of events is unfolding which will lead Batman to a revelation which turns his world inside-out.
There is a certain tragedy in finding out Thomas Wayne is living in a seedy rundown apartment in crime Alley, the location of so much enormous pain and loss for him. But Batman thinks his hitman is actually his first butler - Jarvis Pennyworth, quite what happened to sour relations with Alfreds father is left unanswered but shame on Batman making such a silly mistake as he did in standing in front of the window and blithely announcing his presence, and so getting shot by his target! Very basic and uncommonly amateur error. Though in his defence it may be that he once again underestimated his opponent due to the Miraclo enhancement... but then this is all the more reason NOT to announce your arrival to such an overwhelming foe.
The fact that this now violent man was originally a noted Doctor is a neat character dynamic, Thomas Wayne fell in with the wrong crowd and it ended up costing him and his wife their lives. Yet as we learn he is the author of his own destruction, his own worst enemy. And Bruce Wayne's reaction to his fathers story is spot on for him, and wholly in keeping with his philosophy as the Batman. Thomas Wayne is a weak man, a deeply flawed human being, but to him there was a logic to what he did. It seems clear that it was the discovery of Miraclo that finally enabled his opportunity to gain 'revenge', but despite those enhancements it remains deeply unclear how a drug addict and near down and out goes on to gain the same intellect, training, and professionalism as the carefully prepared Bruce Wayne. This is one of two serious holes in Tom Tyler's plotting. And that second more serious hole is the suggestion that this new Batman would suddenly decide to both unmask and tell his story to the strangers and authorities he has found himself with in the bowels of Arkham Bunker... "I thought you should know what kind of man you're following."
It is an absurd moment. One that brings down my appreciation of this otherwise strong Annual. There is no earthly way anyone could have guessed his identity at this point, especially not with Evil-Superman and a Parademon invasion romping along outside the Bunker. But this is a weakness in Tyler's writing which is becoming repetitive - he delivers great action storylines with good character moments but in the end it is saddled to a serious and basic plothole which confounds and depletes the otherwise enjoyable experience.
I do like this character though, his motivation is believable and at age 65 Thomas makes a very distinctive addition to the group, an unusual figure for a hero. His Miraclo enhancement is the means that enables him to physically be Batman, but whether this means we shouldn't expect to see Hourman anytime soon I would not like the guess.
Tom Tyler has a very interesting character to use here, will Thomas' background as a Doctor be a feature? It does seem a very similar formula to Doctor Mid-nite potentially, there is clearly a missing piece or two in Thomas' story and what he was doing in the five years since Bruce died and why he chose now to resurface as Batman will be interesting details to find out. Thomas Wayne's presentation is that of a drug addict trying to go straight, to all appearances he is a lowlife thug, and yet he began life as a Doctor... so how intelligent are we to judge him? Is he really capable of meeting his son's legacy on a cerebral front?
Thomas is resigned to being the lone survivor of the Wayne family, it is in part what prompts him to become Batman, an ironic turn given his shady past, but as we know, and unbeknown to him, his grand-daughter yet survives. Inevitably then the two will become aware of the other, and so another character dynamic will present itself naturally for the writers to explore. Given Helena and Thomas have spent the last several years in a form of morning and isolation believing they have no family left will the two be able to ever overcome their individual pessimism and prejudices? The potential for possible storylines dealing with the two is compelling to think about.
The story is rich in trivia. We learn Bruce was born in 1973, making him roughly 35 when he died. Bruce's first Butler/confidant is one Jarvis Pennyworth, a physical type not afraid to get hands on with ruffians, too violent according to what we see hinted. His son Alfred goes on to be Batman's traditional helper but what happened to Jarvis is left unanswered, and it seems likely Tom Tyler will be returning to this point, perhaps having Jarvis return as Thomas' right-hand man?
Full credit to artist Robson Rocha and his inker Scott Hanna as this book was extremely well laid out. Every page captures the mood of Tom Tyler's script perfectly - from the first pages imaginative use of a crime alley street lamp, to the Batman arriving in Crime Alley years later, the artist serves the story and tells it well. Rocha clearly loves drawing Batman...
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