Friday, 13 September 2013

Batman & Spider-Man, 1997

“I am here at my father’s side for the same reason that I love you: not because I am compelled to but because I choose to.”
Talia al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, to Batman

Batman & Spider-Man, one of the earliest DC-Marvel crossovers, has terrific graphics that isn’t spoilt by the above average plot revolving around our two superheroes on one hand and mafia lord Wilson ‘The Kingpin’ Fisk and mad man Ra’s al Ghul on the other.

In a strange turn of events, Batman and Spider-Man join hands with the massively built underworld czar of New York to stop Ra’s al Ghul from realising his insane dream of a world where all men, all nations, are under his control. He wants Fisk’s powerful backing and vast criminal network to succeed in his evil plan, beginning with the Big Apple. The Kingpin may be the most dreaded underworld don but he’s not stupid enough to compromise his empire or destroy the city he loves and helped build.

If Fisk appears to side with supervillain Ra’s al Ghul, it’s because he has a secret agenda—an antidote that will cure his beloved wife, Vanessa, from a Ghul-induced terminal illness. But does Ghul really have it?

Over the years I have known about Batman’s many girlfriends, from Catwoman to Batwoman and Poison Ivy to Batgirl, but I didn’t know that he had a thing for Talia al Ghul whose desperate plea to the Dark Knight for “one night…for one moment (when) we can just forget who we are… what side we’re on. Can’t we just?” Yes, says Batman, if she left Ra’s al Ghul.

The 52-page comic-book is not bad although I’ll admit I’m up to my chin with Spider-Man’s corny sense of humour. Poor Batman gets the brunt of it.


For more Forgotten Books this Friday, check out Patti Abbott's blog Pattinase.

14 comments:

  1. Yes, that Spidey sense of humor bothers me too. I'd rather this was just a Batman tale, or better yet a six or eight issue story arc collected in trade edition.

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    1. Richard, I read somewhere that DC and Marvel came together in a strategic move to boost sales and revenue at a time when the global comics market was seeing a decline. I don't know how far this is true. Batman is at his best when he is alone. In this comic-book, Spider-Man is like a pain in his backside.

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  2. Prashant: It has been a long time since I read a comic. You have made me think about whether I should read again.

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    1. Bill, I started reading and collecting comics at around the age of seven or eight after my uncle, my father's brother who lived in San Diego, gifted me a bunch of 40 DC and Marvel comics. I don't buy comics as often as I read them.

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  3. I'm not much of a comic person but I would like to see Batman and Spiderman together.

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    1. Clarissa, this was the first Batman-Spider-Man comic-book I read. Many superheroes from DC and Marvel have come together. In fact, there's a Hulk and Batman comic that I'm planning to read and write about soon.

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  4. You always come up with something a little different, Prashant. I haven't read a comic book in years, but I did enjoy reading your post anyway. :)

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    1. Thank you, Yvette — as long as it all makes sense! I re-read comics from my modest collection every now and then. Sometimes I feel as if I'm reading a comic for the first time.

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  5. Been so long since I really read any Spiderman comics. I vaguely remember him being rather corny.

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    1. Charles, Spider-Man is corny in many of his comics that I've read. In this one, for instance, when Batman says, "I wondered when you'd show up," Spidey replies, "Nice to see you, too, Bats. Miss me?" I always thought Spider-Man was for kids. He hasn't done anything to change my opinion about him.

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  6. I think I'll stick with the films when they're on TV. I do like a bit of Kirsten Dunst!

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    1. Col, some of the superhero films like Christopher Reeve's Clark Kent/Superman and Ben Affleck's Matt Murdock/Daredevil have stayed true to the comic-books, although I still haven't recovered from the "shock" of seeing Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man trilogy. They don't look like that in the comics.

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  7. I never read any of the crossovers. I've always been a Marvel girl. (Stan Lee is the reason I got interested in journalism. I never thought about art, or writing comics, so much as I wanted to be an editor.) I'd still feel like I was cheating, even though it's sanctioned.

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    1. Kelly, I've read only a few crossovers though I used to wonder why rivals DC and Marvel didn't join hands long before they did and give the world a formidable array of superheroes. Now I'm hoping that the joint venture translates into films. For instance, I'd love to see DC's Justice League of America team up with Marvel's Avengers to fight crime. It's interesting to know that Stan Lee influenced your move into journalism.

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