Sunday, December 14, 2008

Batman Year 100 # 3 of 4

Writer/Artist: Paul Pope
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Publisher: DC
Published: April 2006

I got my Dark Knight DVD on Wednesday, and boy can I say, even after my 3rd viewing, I still love this film. I've been a Batman fan since I was a kid, and to watch my favorite character "grow up" and have the same, if not more appeal to me now as it did when I was young, well that just makes me smile. It's a bittersweet smile though, cause the more and more I watch the film, the more and more I miss Heath Ledger.

The first film of Heath Ledger's that I saw was A Knights Tale, which I thought was cool, but nothing too special (other than the guy playing Chaucer - shit he rocked!). Then I saw 10 Things I Hate About You and forgot about it, but then I saw Brokeback Mountain. I was blown away by the film. I had always been an Ang Lee fan, but this was something else. Ever since, when someone brings up Heath Ledger, I always quip in that if they like him, they have to see Brokeback Mountain. Heath has this amazing ability to transform his body language to capture the essence of his character. He is also one of the few actors who doesn't just rely on his looks, but will twist up his face, making himself someone else entirely. When Heath played Ennis in Brokeback he pinched up his lips, and he physically sank into himself, which complemented Ennis's character. He was this guy who was traumatized as a kid and was so afraid to be himself that he hid in himself to the point that he was like a child huddled away in a corner, chin buried, and wishing nothing more for the world to just pass him by.

With the Joker in The Dark Knight, Heath does exact same thing, but this time, instead of turning inward, he finds the chaos that is the Joker, and lashes out, reveling in the destruction he commits. Heath pinches his brow, glowers, snickers, broods, flashes his razor eyes, and darts his tongue like a nervous dragon, all the while dancing manically. He is the Joker, all grown up.

This is what saddens me. Stating the obvious, I can never know who the true Ledger was, but from what I've seen from just a handful of his films, here was an actor at the top of his game, who had an insight into the human condition. He was able to tap into his characters, find what makes them human (or a monster), and portray them physically, mentally, and emotionally so well that he wasn't an actor anymore, but an outlet of something deeper. As to what that something is, only Heath will know, while the rest of us watch and re-watch his films over and over again.

Okay enough, eh? This is a comix blog right? So today I wanted to talk about Batman Year 100. This is one of my favorite Batman stories of all time. Paul Pope's brushwork is fantastic, and coupled with Jose's coloring, this is probably one of the best looking Batman tales yet.

Issue # 3 has Batman breaking into police headquarters to steal back a sample of his blood that the cops collected. During his break-in he gets into a brawl with the GCPD and is forced to growl, jump around, punch and kick cops, and blow things up. After escaping the clutches of an evil psychic he makes a getaway on his Batmobile, which is a kick ass motor bike. The issue ends with Batman and his team piecing together the bad guys scheme, while Jim Gordon pieces together the origin of the Batman. A perfect setup for the final issue of this magnificent series.

No comments: