TreasuryCast #78 – Batman: War on Crime

Rob welcomes back EIC Dan Greenfield to discuss BATMAN: WAR ON CRIME by Paul Dini and Alex Ross!

Check out images from this comic by clicking here!

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13 responses to “TreasuryCast #78 – Batman: War on Crime

  1. Thanks for another enjoyable episode.
    Batman: War in Crime came out in 1999!?! It seems like my friend and I were only just talking about Ross doing these “treasury sized” books, and how excited we were to see them! How we remembered having treasury comics when we were little! Now I realize, that Batman: War on Crime is now as old as treasury editions were, when this book came out!
    I need to go sit down…

  2. A great episode. And the art wow . You could take any page in that book and frame it . I kinda wish Alex Ross could do a similar style series using image or Valent characters something like archer and Armstrong road of wonder or maybe a few ultra verses one shots like Ghoul and Hardcase who said justice was blind . Just some random tittles I thought up .
    Also quick question for every one has any one here read the cat who mystery series I’m currently reading the cat who wasn’t there . If any one is interested I’ve a whole cat who review playlist on my YouTube channel Bucky749.

  3. Dan is a really great guest whenever there’s a Batman book to discuss. As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation, esp. the parts about Batman/Bruce needing to strike a balance between punching out bad guys and actually doing something to address the wider problems/causes of crime.
    As to this particular book – I am definitely interested in reading it given the subject matter. However, I again have to be the dissenting voice about the art. As I’ve said a number of times before when the topic comes up, I really don’t like the type of hyper-realistic art Ross employed in this book. (In fact, now that I’ve seen samples of it, I wish he had used the same style as in that recent FF book, which I think is really attractive.)

  4. Another very informative conversation! I must say I was most interested in the comments comparing this treasury to the most recent Batman movie, which I loathe. Batman used to be my favorite character, but he’s so far away from the Jim Aparo version that got me hooked on comics that I avoid him now more often than not.

    Ross’ take on Batman here is as “grim & gritty” as I ever want to see the character. I’ve purchased this & the other Ross/Dini books several times over in various formats. They are great stories that truly capture the essence of the heroes.
    Looking forward to future episodes covering the remaining titles.

  5. What a terrific episode about an amazing book! Rob and Dan, I strongly agreed with every opinion you expressed about Batman in general and War on Crime in particular. I’m somewhere between Dan and Chuck on the 2022 Batman movie, but I may need to see it again, having heard Dan’s insights.

    In my head canon, the way Batman and Bruce Wayne operate here is the way he/they always operate. It’s the only effective way to do it. The special operations forces I used to support provided medical treatment to the locals in the day and did direct action raids at night. They ran economic development projects, advised local leaders, and trained host nation forces in everything from marksmanship to ethics. Those activities are how you gather information, build rapport, and gain access that you need to stop the bad guys. Those actions are also more likely to change underlying conditions and have a lasting impact than capturing this year’s terrorist shadow governor of the district. Of course, that disruption is also necessary. It interrupts their attack cycle, and it often creates the conditions or provides the information that enable the next operation.

    When I was on active duty, I used to say that everything I need to know about counterinsurgency I learned from Batman. I had a lot of other education on the topic, but it all matched what I read in Bronze Age comics. When I said it, I meant Bruce Wayne, also.

  6. And another thing…a Batman comic where all he does is find criminals and beat them up is fine every once in a while. It’s basically an eighties Steven Seagal movie, or a modern Liam Neeson one — nearly all vicarious catharsis about injustice in the world. That’s the same feeling we get in this one when Bruce watches Gordon take away the evil plutocrat. But this story offers so much more than that, and Batman comics are always capable of offering so much more. Maybe they’re doing so again under the new regime.

  7. Great episode!
    I love these books.
    It is funny how Dini and Ross can be both optimistic and pessimistic in these books. Maybe pessimistic is too strong. Both in the Superman and in Batman books they are forced to see that they unlike will win their war but they can win some battles here and there.

    As you say, the Bruce Wayne bits are just as wonderful, if not more wonderful, than the Batman pieces. I love how he wants the throttle the horrible businessman.

    But, as always, the art is what really makes this shine. That pic of Marcus at the time of his parents’ murder is etched in my mind. As you were discussing it, I could just see it.

    Hope the other volumes in this series are covered. The Wonder Woman one might be my fave of them all.

  8. Great discussion about a great book, gents. I will admit I hadn’t thought of The Batman taking inspiration from this project, but I can certainly see where Dan is coming from. Honestly, the early trailers for that film put me off, showing Batman brutally beating a gang member when he should have stopped after the takedown move. I thought “Oh, here we go again with Brutalizer Batman”. When my son coerced me into seeing it, I was pleasantly surprised to see Batman has the arc you mentioned. I hope the next film features a Batman much more in line with this iteration here.

    This book did remind me a bit of The New Batman Adventures episode “Old Wounds” that details how and why Dick Grayson quit being Robin via flashback. Batman and Robin track a perp working for the Joker back to his apartment, and Batman beats the guy in front of his wife and kid. This enrages Robin, and is one of the final straws in him ending their partnership (and slugging Batman!). In the present, Dick, as Nightwing, and Tim Drake’s Robin discover Bruce Wayne gave that perp a nice job as a security guard for Wayne Enterprises. The episode didn’t excuse Batman’s excessive behavior, but it did show that he still had a heart, and compassion for those touched by crime. And much like in War on Crime, often times Bruce Wayne can do more good for his city than the Dark Knight.

  9. Great show, Rob and Dan. Always great to hear from Dan. I love 13th Dimension and eagerly await “The 13 best page 13’s from the 13th issue of a series” article. Also, Dan sounds exactly like a reporter for the Golf Channel named Steve Sands. Same cadence and everything. It’s uncanny to the point that I’m wondering if they’re the same guy. Does Dan have any thoughts on the upcoming Masters tournament? Also, can he help me with my sand wedge follow-through? I’ll hang up and listen.

    I have some of the Alex Ross treasuries, but the Batman one has somehow eluded me. My favorite thing about Ross’s art is how he always ties the heroes into regular people’s lives. This is where his art style shines. Ross masterfully shows how a guy dressed as a bat can look amazing or mystical, or larger than life to normal people.

    By the way, every time you guys mentioned Bayside, the Saved By The Bell theme played in my head. I’m not proud it it, but there you go.

  10. A bit late, but finally listened to this episode today – great podcast on a great book! Dan is a fun guest for sure and very insightful. I loved these books when they came out – more than 20 years ago!!! Yikes! but the discussion has really inspired me to re read these stories.
    Like Dan, I enjoyed The Batman as being as close to a Bronze Age Batman that we are going to get in the movies. I did not catch the homages in the movie to this book, but I am definitely going to try to find them now.
    Finally, I loved the story about how Dan and his wife trade off their fandoms. I mentioned this great idea to my wife who simply said “yeah…no.”

  11. Ever fallen in love with a comic you’ve never read or seen, just by listening to two fine gents talking about it?

    Now you have. I am going to track this down and buy it!!!

  12. Wendy Greenfield here (the Mrs. Greenfield mentioned in this episode). I just read War on Crime this week, and I loved it. The art and story were both fantastic. That hug made me a little weepy. And the photorealism actually made it feel a little bit like watching La Jetée (, which is also, of course, on the 1001 Movies list! Dan’s already seen it, so I can’t make him watch it as part of our little project this year. I listen to a LOT of podcasts, and this was a great one. I might even reread the book I listened to this.


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