Writer: Kevin Smith
Artist: Walter Flanagan
From amazon.com : When the mysterious masked superhero-killer Onomatopoeia arrives in Gotham City, it seems his sights [and sounds] are set against the Caped Crusader. But how does the Joker feature in his nefarious plan? With the bullets flying, the Dark Knight will be forced to make a terrible choice... stop the assassin or save the life of his greatest foe.
Batman Cacophony is a curious graphic novel, a three parter written by Kevin smith (of clerks fame) and illustrated by Walter Flanagan (of the tell ‘em steve dave podcast). In the introduction Smith addresses the nepotism of having one of his closest friends illustrate this comic for which, at the time of it’s release there was a lot of backlash against. Frankly, I can’t see why this is, Flanagan’s art is rather reminiscent of Brain Bolland’s in The Killing Joke especially in the manner it depicts motion and dynamism. Kevin Smith’s fingerprints are all over this graphic novel, the dialog is laden with pop culture references, the witty vulgarism’s and snappy conversations. His love for comic’s is displayed unashamedly ( I especially liked the nod to batmite)
The introduction of a hero hunter Onomatopoeia, a villain who speaks only in sound effects, sounds completely and utterly ridiculous. When reading a review for this bit that really raised my eyebrow but somehow it works. Onomatopoeia pointing a gun at someone’s head and saying “blam” before pulling the trigger actually comes across as chilling, sure it lives and dies on the page but I actually found this character rather menacing and would like to see him continue through the DC universe.
Now to the meat of it, Batman. Batman here is Kevin Smith’s Batman and it’s not easy to get away from that, some of his dialog is completely out of current continuity and his behaviour is the same but frankly given that Batman recently went back in time and became a pirate I can overlook this. This is and Smith’s follow up (Widening Gyre) are self contained as far as I’m concerned.
The joker however here I adore. He’s funny, dark and comes across like a complete psychopath. His dialog has an interesting modern twang to it, I’ve rarely seen done well for the character. There’s some moments though that made me tilt my head though (Joker offering himself sexually to Onomatopoeia was rather bizarre).
Beware Thar Be Spoilers Ahead
This comic would be a wildly amusing bit of fun to kill a bit of time, that is if it wasn’t for the final book. The graphic novel takes a rather poignant turn in the last act in which batman is unable to let the joker to bleed out after being stabbed and later goes to visit him in the hospital and finds the joker doped up on morphine and mood stabilisers and so is able to have a rational discussion with the joker and attempts to explore their relationship.
The 3rd act makes this book worth reading, Smith’s writing here is at its best. Pick it up and enjoy it, don’t try to over think it just roll with it and you should be able to enjoy
Overall it’s give this book a 7/10