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Episode 151

Gerry and Chris are hear to cover the next installment of Bat-Books for Beginners. This time around Batman: Death of the Maidens is covered which includes Batman: Death of the Maidens #1-9. Be sure to leave your comments below. Next episode: Batman: City of Crime.


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9 thoughts on “Episode 151

  1. Ian Miller

    Great podcast! A very complex text, and I really appreciated the insight you brought in the parallel between Ra’s and Thomas and Martha and their respective children. I liked the observations on Janson’s art – while he’s more known as an inker for Frank Miller, he did some really excellent primary artist work with this story, and with Gordon’s Law (written by Chuck Dixon, and an excellent precursor to Gotham Central). Janson, like Miller, is clearly an expressionist rather than realistic penciller, and while I may not completely agree with the expression of Nyssa and Talia, I’m not convinced he’s trying to make a statement about what women do or should look like, but rather express the effect these women are intended to have on the reader – whether he’s effective or not is up to said reader. I did have a couple of questions.

    1) While this is clearly a really well constructed and executed Batman story by a writer and artist who are justly renowned for their work on Batman, I’m not sure it’s essential reading for a Batman beginner. It doesn’t have long term effects on continuity (since OYL killed Nyssa off, though I’m betting if Rucka had more control, that wouldn’t have happened), and it doesn’t really offer super new insights into Batman’s character or world. How do you think it fits into the “essential reading” category?

    2) I’m intrigued that you’re doing City of Crime next – is BBFB skipping War Games, or waiting a bit for it?

    3) I’m not as familiar with Talia’s continuity before Morrison took over the Bat books, and so am not sure how Rucka’s portrayal of her fits or does not with previous portrayals. It absolutely doesn’t fit with Morrison’s work on her, or even Tomasi and Gleason’s, but I just haven’t read her before Son of Batman.

    1. Chris Karnes

      Ian, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to comment. Thank you VERY much for listening and the kind words! Great recall with Gordon’s Law and take on Janson’s art.

      3) (“Encyclopedia,” Gerry? Heh, I’m not worthy.) The characterization and interpretation of Talia that left the strongest impressions on me were from stories that I read when I was at a younger age such as her first appearance (Detective Comics #411), “The Saga of Ra’s al Ghul” story line (from Batman #s 242-244 or thereabouts), “I Now Pronounce You Batman and Wife” (Batman Spectacular/DC Special Series #15) written by Denny O’Neil and “The Lazarus Affair” (Batman #s 332-335) written by Marv Wolfman. Talia had an air that seemed above it all; could have and afford it all, worldly, quietly driven, calculating, strong, private, obsessive, a guarded demeanor perhaps, seemingly with no friends, and focused on Batman. Period. I was taken aback by her portrayal Death and the Maidens; one bit in particular, living in what appeared to be an apartment building (even if it may have been on penthouse floor). She just impressed me as someone who would want much more private living quarters in a single dwelling and something that wasn’t communal. I didn’t think she’d talk to a neighbor (Nyssa), much less have drinks with one, and much less go out dancing with one. Talia having a social life? Opening up to someone else? Perhaps Nyssa’s somewhat false pretenses allowed her to acquaint herself and talk to Talia where she would let her guard down and gave the readers an interesting scene with talk of fathers. While their initial encounters and social interactions didn’t take up a lot of the story; how it played out just seemed strange and off to me. Could Nyssa have accomplished her means by just having Talia proficiently abducted by her minion and spirited off somewhere to talk about dads without going to all the pretense, trouble and presumably pricey expense to buy an apartment conveniently available adjacent to Talia? If it went in that direction, would it have changed the story overall. A minor and small quibble from me, but a quibble just the same.

      1. Ian Miller

        Awesome info – so Talia’s arrogance, competence, and obsession weren’t invented by Morrison, but are pretty consistent with her origins, it seems. It sounds to me like Rucka wanted to write his own female main character (which is pretty much his standard tactic – see also Renee Montoya, Sasha Bordeaux, and pretty much any of his indie stuff :), and gave Talia’s characterization to Nyssa, writing Talia as a more classic “younger sister” stereotype.

        1. Gerry Green Post author

          My guess is that you have hit the nail on the head here Ian. Rucka wanted his own Talia-like character. Also, great analysis as always Chris.

        2. Chris Karnes

          ” … Arrogance, competence, and obsession” — well put, Ian! Also, that’s an excellent observation on Rucka with those specific characters that I didn’t consider. I’m glad you responded; thank you.

  2. Gerry Green Post author

    Thanks Ian. Here are some answers:

    1. You are right, this isn’t a ‘must read’ in terms of continuity. The most interesting thing to me about these stories is the relationship between Bruce and Batman. We all know the history of his parent’s death that was the seed of his mission, but his mental state isn’t always clear. Is he a spoiled Billionaire with Mommy/Daddy issues? This story’s premise is that at least in this point in his career he is solid in his knowledge of himself. That is why for me this is a book you should read.

    2. War Games isn’t going to be covered right away but it is on the list. Have no fear.

    3. Encyclopedia Karnes can answer this one better than I ever could. I’ll defer to his expertise.

    1. Ian Miller

      Good point – I don’t mean to knock the story, I was just a bit confused about the recommendation, but you’ve explained it well here. 🙂

      Oh, I have TONS of fear about War Games. Stephanie Brown is my favorite character ever (I know, surprising, right? ;), so War Games is…shall we say, one of my least favorite ever. (And I have Opinions about Steph’s time as Robin.)

  3. Gerry Green Post author

    I’m not shilling for DC or anything, but Death and the Maidens Deluxe Edition is out on 1/25. It has some behind the scenes art and sketches by artist Klaus Janson.

    1. Ian Miller

      I took a look at it, and the introduction and production sketches are fascinating. Apparently, the story was drastically restructured during production – scenes were moved all around the book after writing and pencilling. Janson is a really powerful artist, and I wish he had more notable works like this one.

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