about_faces (about_faces) wrote,

A non-review of BATMAN: FORTUNATE SON (AKA "Batman vs the Devil's Music"), plus a question!

Note: This post isn't a review, but is in fact a very roundabout way to asking you all a geeky question for the sake of amusement. You were warned.

I wish I had the time and energy to devote a whole post--nay, a SERIES of posts--to the batshit insanity that is Batman: Fortunate Son.

I doubt that's even necessary, since internet-personality Linkara already famously reviewed this misbegotten graphic novel. Of course, that's no real reason why I shouldn't write my own review, since my thoughts are my own and Linkara doesn't have a monopoly on snarky geek review stuff, but I simply don't have the time nor energy. Am lazy tired daddy. But at the very least, I'd like to say a few words about B:FS in general before focusing on one scene in particular.

The strangest thing about B:FS is the sheer talent involved in the making of this fiasco. For one thing, this was one of the final projects heralded by Archie Goodwin, a comics vet who not only had written and edited tons of great comics, but who was also apparently such a sweet guy that Kelley Puckett created a Goodwin-based Batman villain named Mr. Nice. Goodwin was also responsible for getting Jeph Loeb his Batman work at DC, but eh, we won't hold that against him.

Goodwin had the concept of a "rock 'n roll Batman comic," and to carry out his vision, he hired writer Gerard Jones and Gene Ha. This project was the first time I heard of Ha, but thankfully it wasn't the last, since he went on to draw the greatest Alan Moore series that no one has read, Top Ten. Gerard Jones, meanwhile, is a writer very close to my heart, thanks to his *fantastic* run on Green Lantern which no one reads because either A.) they're Kyle fans who picked up the series after Jones was fired, or B.) they're fans of Geoff Johns, who has done everything in his power to ignore that Jones' run ever existed.

Seriously: Emerald Dawn and Emerald Dawn II: best Hal Jordan origin stories ever. And Green Lantern: The Road Back is an awesome storyline.

So yes, in the tradition of many great fiascos, B:FS was a project driven by high ambitions. Maybe the prospect was flawed from the start, because how the hell are you going to do a rock 'n roll Batman comic? I don't think it's possible between the inherent incompatibility of the media, the dozens upon dozens of subgenres that fall under supposed "rock 'n roll," and the fact that it's Batman, here. On paper, the idea of using Batman and Robin to represent the generational divide when it comes to rock/pop music totally kinda sorta works! But in practice, it fails harder than you'd imagine, mainly since so much of it revolves around Batman coming just shy of actually calling rock "the devil's music."

But what about the plot? Well, it concerns Izaak Crowe, a Cobain-like rock star on the verge of a nervous breakdown who, sick of the commercialization of his music, starts hallucinating that he sees Elvis and seemingly turns criminal in the process. While you later discover that it's all an evil plot by Crowe's manager--a Col. Tom Parker type who was actually the Elvis-type's long-lost brother--the driving conflict of B:FS is between Crowe fan Dick Grayson and Batman, who hates rock music.

But why? Why does Batman hate it so much? One reason is that he was chastised by his parents for listening to it right before they went to see "that Zorro movie." But there's another reason, one which Batman reveals in... well, just see for yourself.

Apparently Arkham has an Elvis ward. Presumably, they are criminally insane Elvii. Am I alone in wanting to read that story? Really, I'm thinking THAT'S what a "rock 'n roll Batman story" should have been!

... There's... more to this story than Bruce is letting on, methinks. Something seriously, seriously slashy here went down between young, impressionable Bruce and not-Sid-Vicious. Seriously, what was Gerard Jones trying to go for here? Because I'm not sure what else might have happened in the "weeks trapped in his obsession" before he turned the same "predatory hunger" on not-Nancy-Spungen there.

I'm guessing that's meant to be the Joker talking about being a KISS fan, but he's miscolored due to colorist fail. Either way, haha, yes, of course the Joker loves KISS, because they wear make-up, you see! And of course the Riddler loves ? and the Mysterians, because there's a question mark and mystery there in the name! Nelson Riddle only works because, well, duh. And don't think that the comic won't reference that too, followed by the main reason I wanted to post this in the first place:

Y'know, if I had just read that one page above with Harvey, I think my brain would have shut off at the mere thought of him going between ABBA and Sabbath (sABBAth?). As it is, it's one of the least ridiculous aspects of this comic, although it's still pretty darn silly.

I've already posted the main pain parts I wanted to share, but for the sake of completion, let's finish out the scene (and the rest of the Joker's line):

Yeah, there's not much more to say about B:FS without going into a full review, which might or might not happen at some point way down the line. For now, just know that it's a wonderfully bad comic well worth owning for those who find entertainment value in such things. But the main reason I posted these pages is to ask you guys this:

What music (rock or otherwise) do YOU think the rogues enjoy? What bands, composers, styles, etc? I want to see if anyone can come up with more appropriate/interesting/hilarious choices than the ones in the story above! What think you?
Tags: arkham, dick grayson, gerard jones, joker, riddler

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