Sam Quixote's Reviews > Batman: The Widening Gyre

Batman by Kevin Smith
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's review
Jul 21, 2011

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Fresh from their first Batman collaboration - "Cacophony" - writer Kevin Smith and artist Walter Flanagan return with their second collection, this time longer than the first, called "The Widening Gyre". A new superhero comes to Gotham wearing a wooden goat mask calling himself "Baphomet" and kicking evil-doer ass, giving Batman the idea that this might be the man he's been looking for to replace him and let Batman retire. Meanwhile Silver St Cloud re-enters Bruce Wayne's life after her husband's death, and the two begin a whirlwind relationship. But who is Baphomet and why has he suddenly appeared to take down Batman's Rogues Gallery?

"Gyre" is a mixed bag for me - there's plenty of action but not a strong enough plot to say this is a great Batman book. For example, there are a lot of old Batman villains that get aired for a few pages before being taken down again - Baron Blitzkrieg, Etrigan, Cornelius Stirk, Black Spider, and Crazy Quilt all get their day in court along with regulars Joker, Mr Freeze, and Poison Ivy. All it really does is show again and again that Baphomet can handle the action and underlines to Batman repeatedly that this guy might be the one to fill his boots when he retires. But seeing one villain after another being beaten up gets a bit boring after a while.

The other main focus is the love story between Silver St Cloud and Bruce Wayne. It's very soap opera-y. They jet to tropical islands, make love on the beach, jet to Aspen and ski, blah blah blah. Wayne gets loved up - how many scenes of him smooching with Silver does the average Batman reader want to see? Then there's Selina Kyle and we really get into Melrose Place territory.

The Baphomet story is the interesting piece of the puzzle, though he de-masks early on and it's nobody from Batman's past that's revelatory. In fact, it's kind of a red herring... but I don't want to spoil it for you. No, despite its humdrum story throughout, "Gyre" is redeemed in the final pages with a real sucker punch of an ending from Smith and makes me want to read the next book in the series.

I quite like Smith's writing so I enjoyed reading the book but I already know one person who didn't like the way Smith humanised Batman by showing him eating a sandwich in between arrests and especially on one page that references "Year One" and Batman's first encounter with incendiaries. But despite being a Batman fan and having read hundreds of comics featuring the guy, it didn't jar me in the way it might - might - a Batman purist.

Flanagan's art is better than his work in "Cacophony"'s and his Batman looks a lot better too - more fierce, menacing, masculine. His drawings of Poison Ivy were awesome too. I know some people disliked his artwork in "Cacophony" but I think it was an overreaction, I mean, he's not Jim Lee but he's not Sam Kieth either.

I guess I was a bit disappointed with the book overall. It felt like there was too much padding and not enough of a substantial story. It felt like the ending was the start of the real story and I would've liked to have skipped a lot of the dross that led up to it and started there instead. That said, it was a decent read and I'm looking forward to a more dynamic "Gyre: Vol 2" from Smith and Flanagan.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael He's currently writing a sequel called batman bellicosity

message 2: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam Quixote I know, I think it's been written but he's waiting on the art to be finished.

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