Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Batman Odyssey....Yes Virginia, it's ISHTAR Bad!

Have you ever heard the expression “it’s Ishtar bad”?
Ishtar was a movie made in 1987 with Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty. It was SO bad that all things bad now have to live up to the legacy of this film. Hence the term “it’s Ishtar bad”
Frankly I never thought I’d ever see anything that was actually Ishtar bad. Believe me I have searched for it. From the High Sierra to the shores of Tripoli…from Podunk to The Sands…but no…nothing Ishtar bad.

One More Day? Close but no cigar

The last three Star War Movies…ohhhh SO close to Ishtar bad. Rotten yes, but not quite THAT rotten.

Note even Aquaman The game was Ishtar bad!

Needless to say, Ishtar was pretty bad.

But now my search for the comics version of Ishtar has borne fruit. I can give a name to a comic that is truly Ishtar bad and it’s name is…
(Dramatic music cue please!)

Batman Odyssey.

Let me just sum Batman Odyssey in one word….ummmm…YUCK.

Batman working with Caveman Batman on a prehistoric BAT?

Really? REALLY??!!

This sort of thing nearly caused batman to be cancelled back in 1964! During the 1950’s and early 60’s DC decided to take batman from the streets of Gotham and into high fantasy along with some really bad Sci-fi. It got so silly that we actually saw Batman battle a living BARN in his whirlybat , Batman on far off worlds and even (yes) Batbaby!

At the very least those Batman yarns from the halcyon days of Yore were written well enough to allow you to follow the story, which may NOT have been a kindness. Odyssey on the other hand is completely incomprehensible and may actually be the single most amateur attempt at the written word since the pilot episode of “My Mother The Car”.

The characters are well…out of character. Scenes jump from one to the other with no logic. The dialogue is not only bad but does not fit into the mouths of the characters, most especially Batman’s. Of course the character has been written SO far from his core that I can’t even be sure he IS Batman.

But Ishtar bad? Surely other books have been this bad (can anyone say All Star Batman and Robin?)

Yes. And this is why. In order to be Ishtar bad the item, in this case a comic, must be created by an individual or individuals with nearly unparalleled talent. I mean Hoffman and Beatty. How much talent is THAT??
Well Neal Adams is the Hoffman, the Brando, the SINATRA of comic book artists. If Picasso was a comic artist he’d go to Neal for lessons. If Neal was a boxer, he’d have whipped Ali! That’s how great Adams is.

And to be sure his pencils REMAIN the standard. The art on this book is wonderful. Adams still draws the definitive Batman…and a pretty sexy Talia as well. The art ALONE is reason enough to buy the book.

And I do recommend that you buy the book JUST for the artwork.
However, Adams has clearly lost touch with a character that he helped to define back in the 1970’s. It was Adams as much as anyone who returned Batman to his roots as the Dark Knight. He was instrumental, through his realistic style, for removing the high fantasy from batman. He made the Bat compelling again.

In fact Adams has taken Batman SO far from his roots that I have to wonder if he isn’t doing it deliberately. Is he making a statement here? Maybe a satire? If so, he’s missed the mark and I for one don’t get it.
Still, gotta LOVE those pencils…so BUY it.

But if you are actually planning to READ it here is my advice. Take an aspirin or three because you WILL get a headache because it really is…
Ishtar bad

Oh and the thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the ownership, staff or pizza delivery guy of Comic Book Jones. So if you absolutely LOVE Batman Odyssey this review is all ME.

That’s 30!


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