Batman Knightcast 36: DETECTIVE COMICS #407 and BATMAN #454

On this episode of Batman Knightcast, Ryan Daly and Chris Franklin wrap up the two continuing story arcs they’ve covered since the beginning of the year. First, Batman’s dizzying confrontation with the Man-Bat reaches new heights of craziness and excitement in DETECTIVE COMICS #407. Then, the Riddler’s deadly game reaches its fiery, diabolical conclusion in the third part of “Dark Knight, Dark City” from BATMAN #454.

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Music from the Batman and Batman Returns original motion picture soundtracks by Danny Elfman. Additional music: “Heaven is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle.

Thanks for listening!

13 responses to “Batman Knightcast 36: DETECTIVE COMICS #407 and BATMAN #454

        1. Chris, I loved it! I loved even more that you promised that we’d see a real-time reaction video from Rob for the duration of the movie! I’m so psyched to tune in for four hours to see his face as things happen! I’m glad Rob’s being a good sport about this, and would never call this a hoax or try to back out of this soul pact he’s made with the audience!

  1. I think they could have squeezed one more face mask reveal into the Marriage: Impossible story. Instead of Batman bursting in on the wedding and pulling off Man-Bat’s mask, the priest should have pulled off Man-Bat’s mask, before pulling off his own face to reveal that he was actually Batman, complete with his cowl, in disguise.

    In regards to Batman #454, I really liked Chris’ observation that it is the depiction of Batman’s humanity that makes this incredibly dark story palatable and, even, enjoyable. Also, in my head cannon, Batman has trained the goat to guard the Wayne family mausoleum.

    Thanks for another remarkable episode.

    1. I want to read a Bronze Age comic where a normal guy pulls off his face mask to reveal Black Manta in his full helmet!

  2. To Ryan’s mention of Gotham having an origin point for how depraved it is- Tracy Hickman’s novel WAYNE OF GOTHAM puts a really solid idea on the table stemming back to Thomas Wayne’s days.

    It is a book that I highly reccomend as an example of concept behindThe Dark Knight Rises done right.

  3. I can’t speak to the specific language of “consummated,” but as the husband of an Episcopal priest, I can affirm the rest of that part of a wedding service, giving time for anyone knowing a reason why a marriage should not go forward to speak up is very definitely still practiced today in high-church traditions. That said, I can’t recall a single time I’ve ever seen someone actually try to stop a wedding in this way (no doubt those who officiate have an interest in making sure that’s taken care of well in advance!).

  4. As always, another great job by Ryan and Chris! While I have read the first two installments of the Man-Bat saga, I’ve never read the third for some reason. So, I was surprised at the whole Langstroms’ wearing realistic face mask at a public event! While that trope is something I would have not even thought about as a young kid, it is pretty hard to suspend my disbelief. Even if they could fold down their ears, doesn’t their nose and mouth protrude into a small snout? Even with a face mask wouldn’t people notice how swollen the Langstroms’ face look. Or the fangs when they smiled or talk? And I always imagine Man-Bat having a high, animalistic screechy voice. Even if he did have a fantastic face mask to hide his transformation, surely someone would have said, “Oh my, Kirk! What’s wrong with your voices!” (This would make for a great SNL skit ala the Coneheads).
    I also want to stick up for Francine willing to go through the transformation. In my head canon, she was taking a gamble. I don’t remember how much time passed between the first and second chapters. But if Batman had mentioned to Francine there had been a few days/weeks before Kirk lost his mind, she might have thought if she acts as if she’s going along with him and if she can stay in her right mind long enough to manipulate him into getting help or at least preventing him from doing something stupid until Batman can save them.
    As for the Dark Night, Dark City story, I have a mixed feelings for it. I think it is a good story, but I found the first chapter to be jarring with the “mischaracterization” of the Riddler, the idea that our Founding Fathers were doing occult rituals that involved human sacrifices, and the actual demon showing up. I think I would be much more enthusiastic about the story if it had been a new character doing this to Batman, if it had just been the founding fathers of Gotham, and if there was some vagueness as to whether the whole demon was real. I don’t mind the idea if Stockman and his Gotham cronies MAY have tainted Gotham with their dabblings. Also, you mentioned the anticlimax of Batman dancing before the goat. Well, I’m no Jason Blood, but I think this might be a real ritual, so blame sorcerers for making an anticlimactic ritual. Also, I couldn’t help but think of the movie The Wicker Man. The original. Not the remake with Nicholas Cage.

    Hiley

  5. Cheers for another splendid episode, you’re rather good at this! It was good to hear your opinions on these two classic sequences. I was surprised at the idea that Dark Knight/Dark City was pretty obscure, even before Grant Morrison came along and messed about with it – it lived in my memory, for the amazing covers and sheer audacity of the story. Which isn’t to say I was a fan, it was too gloomy, gristly and fundamentally legend changing for my tastes. I’d have been OK had it been outside of the regular book, where it could be enjoyed and ignored, but being in the regular series, that made it canon.

    The work of Kieron Dwyer and Dennis Janke is fine, but not too memorable. It reminds me of Norm Breyfogle, but slightly blander. I honestly can’t see what you’re seeing in it that makes it stand out.

    The Bat Goat tangent was marvellous! More of this kind of thing. And yes, there was a Gregory Wright, he was a Marvel assistant editor and colourist.

    Poor Dominique. Killed to death in a cellar and all I can think of is the Singing Nun.

    I agree that The Bride of Man-Bat is a far better title than Marriage: Impossible – unless they were thinking the union would self destruct in ten seconds. I love the cover art, shame about all the unnecessary cover furniture and logo figures.

    Perhaps the Comics Code meant DC wouldn’t allow Adams to draw Batman wielding the syringe, even if it was in a good cause. Whatever the case, this is memorable comics art.

    Here’s a suggestion for something to cover – the Destroyer storyline that incorporated Anton Furst’s Gotham City into the comic books. I have thoughts.

  6. Ryan and Chris, thanks for another fun episode. Like Hiley, I was distracted throughout the Man-Bat story by the utter ridiculousness of Man-Bat and She-Bat posing as Kirk and Francine. Magic latex masks aside, how do those wings fit in their sleeves? And don’t their voices and demeanors change when they’re in bat form? I thought the museum reception would go like this:

    Exhibit attendee: Well, I’ve got to hand it to you, Dr. Langstrom. This exhibit is amazing!

    Disguised Man-Bat: Why, thank you, Dr. Walton! It was really a team ef—SKREEEK!

    Disguised Man-Bat (sheepishly): Sorry. Hiccups.

    Also, I agree that Francine is portrayed as “quite fit” on the cover, but it’s also an example of exaggerated comic book anatomy if you really examine it. I think her wedding dress has an eighteen inch waist.

    I’m going to say a little bit more on “Dark Knight, Dark City” this time.

    Chris, your portrayal of the horror of Dominique being trapped was excellent – so excellent that I was yelling at the car speakers so I couldn’t hear you keep going on about it (“fingers worn down to nubs” – yeeck!). I would’ve just turned down the volume or skipped ahead, but I needed both hands to drive at that moment. Pat yourself on the back for successfully inducing what Maurice the Lemur calls “the heebie-jeebies.”

    Like y’all, I really enjoyed the exchange between the bound Batman and the murderous Riddler, and I think you two nailed what was great about it. On the one hand, the Riddler is right; Batman is trying to stall the Riddler and manipulate him into changing his plan. On the other, he’s still trying to solve the mystery in what may be his last seconds of life, because it’s vexing him. On the Riddler’s part, he’s rationalizing his change in behavior as fast as he can. As you point out, though, it seems like he’s trying to convince himself as much as the Batman. The characterization for both was satisfyingly spot-on.

    And finally, you are not hypocrites for being against the overly grimdark portrayal of Batman so often seen in modern comics, and yet liking this story. For one thing, as you point out, Batman himself is portrayed well and not as overly grim, moody, or brutal. For another, the tone of this story is explicitly presented as a deviation from the norm – one the characters themselves even comment on. Finally, it’s okay to have exceptions. I whine publicly and repeatedly about story decompression – unless Bendis is writing it. For my money, he does a good job of maintaining tension, thus making multiple pages of languid dialogue and nearly zero events enjoyable. Some people like impressionists generally, but only one or two post-impressionists. I have a daughter who doesn’t like spinach unless it’s raw. It’s all okay. Really, it is.

    If you said what’s next on the agenda, I missed it, but I’m looking forward to it anyway!

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