Book O’ The Week: Batman #14 (or is it?)

Words: Scott Snyder, Pictures: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion.

With Batman #14 out this week and taking the world by storm, who am I to buck convention and not report back on it?

I am the Nick, dammit – I’ll do what I want. Batman #14 is holy-crap-what-the-hell good. Seriously, if you read comics and have any appreciation for a good story, go get Batman #13 and #14. That story is about to go places you really don’t want it to, and you are GOING TO LOVE IT.

 

But I’m here to talk about another character near and dear to me. THE TICK!

“SPOOOOOOON”

The Tick #101 Tick Meets Madman

Words: Benito Cereno, Pictures: Les McClaine

This is a big issue. I mean, literally, it’s a big book, but also the conceit at work is massive, and downright absurd. And you know what? IT WORKS.  One of the under-pinning great things about The Tick is that the creators have always had a finger on the pulse regarding comics, a deft control of ridiculousness through story, and how The Tick figures into this wacky scene. And having crossed over with Madman, I’m now slapping myself that no one thought to do this sooner.

The Tick is larger-than-life superhero silliness. He’s the proverbial brawn, relying on Arthur his moth-man sidekick to help guide him through his heroic life. But with Arthur gone, Tick finds himself in an existential bind – with one of any number of satirical scenarios being the result of Arthur’s disappearance, who will save the Tick from himself? Luckily, the answer comes from two dimension hopping allies, one being an Cable-like Arthur, and the other being, well, Madman. Seriously, it’s not until the two are fighting side-by-side than I start to wonder whether this has been planned all along – there’s just too many incredibly smooth connections between Tick and Madman’s books that make this crossover feel natural and not at all the forced, awkward affairs that most team-up books resolve into. Madman fighting with yo-yos, inspiring Tick to fight with improvised, Tick-sized yo-yos? Genius. And the Mime/Beatnik menace? It’s a brilliant example of the absurd villainy that both books relish, and fits too nicely.

On a personal level, I think it’s probably fair to say that The Tick as a concept is what got me into considering comics as a medium in which I wanted to be immersed. It’s no coincidence that the handle I use online so often is “The Nick”. Deep down, I truly love the silly – but not the “random humour” that is so prevalent these days, rather the effortless surreality of people like Spike Milligan, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, and…Ben Edlund. From the first time I encountered him, the Tick was living in a world that could be immediately relatad to, and yet was skewering parodies and tropes with precision, never once letting up on the fun. Tick is everything a hero should be, and simultaneously nothing a comic would be expected to include.

From the over-the-top, stocked-up-on-bravado hero himself, through to his inappropriate sidekick, every character present is always a caricature of something familiar, but with a unique twist that makes it something special – Arthur may be an accountant turned hero (nothing super going on there), but he’s also the driving force behind the Tick’s effectiveness. A fantastic multi-page spread in this issue really delves into this, coming to a surprising conclusion self-realised by the big blue bug.

Having not been paying attention to this book for a long, long time, I’m suddenly feeling very guilty and yet simultaneously happy to see that everything I loved about the Tick is still in place as it should be. Cereno and McClaine are not Ben Edlund, I know this, but the work they are doing here maintains the special elements that make the Tick work, and continue to craft his wonderfully absurd adventures in a very true, but very fresh way. Put me down for the ongoing, I need more of the mashed metaphors that make this particular book so memorable!

RATING: 4 Third Eyes out of 5

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~ by nick on November 19, 2012.

4 Responses to “Book O’ The Week: Batman #14 (or is it?)”

  1. “Batman #14 is holy-crap-what-the-hell good. Seriously, if you read comics and have any appreciation for a good story, go get Batman #13 and #14. That story is about to go places you really don’t want it to, and you are GOING TO LOVE IT.” Do you think it’s good enough to be added to this list http://thedynamicbuzz.com/2012/11/12/preview-batgirl-14/#comments?

  2. Hello WW! I meant to reply to your list of story arcs, and hadn’t – because I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus (sabbatical? lazy period?). I think that “Death of The Family” is shaping up to be a fantastic story – if Snyder/Capullo can keep the heat on, it’s going to be a torturously good read!

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