blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Batman: Year 100 (2006) #4

Bmy100 4

Despite an exceedingly dull finale, a disappointing motorcycle chase sequence, and numerous pointless teasers, this issue ends better than it begins. The first scene is Batman 2039 trying to convince one of his allies he’s not the problem, he’s the solution. There will be a similar sequence at the end for another character, who can’t decide if they should trust him, but there’s at least action going on somewhere else juxtaposed for that dilemma. Unfortunately, the opening one is just talking heads, and all of it’s boring.

It resolves with Batman finally meeting up with Jim Gordon via hologram, and they agree to work together. Gordon knows the federal cops are lying about Batman, so he trusts him. Gordon’s also just finished reading his grandpappy’s file on the original Batman and now knows all the secrets of the proverbial Batcave. Should Gordon’s knowledge of these secrets affect how Batman 2039 treats him? Yes. But creator Paul Pope saves that “reveal” for the last few pages when he finally gives some clues to the Bat-Man’s identity. Sort of.

If Pope did Batman: Year 100 because he was trapped in a contract with DC for a Batman comic and decided to just bullshit his way through it with references and reveals, it wouldn’t be any different than what he came up with. Instead, after three issues of teasing the Bat-cycle, Pope does the issue’s only notable action set piece around it, and it’s boring. Not just the story parts of it, not just the writing on the chase and the twists he gives away or the twists he forecasts, but the art. It’s a boring Paul Pope motorcycle chase scene. I never wanted to see that kind of thing. Icky bad.

The finish has Batman explaining the comic's plot to the bad guys, at least one of whom knows the comic’s plot, but Pope’s been keeping it from the reader. So Batman’s gonna explain it to everyone, including Gordon, who’s a wallflower because he’s got nothing to do. The idea of him having something to do was a red herring; Gordon’s even less important to the comic than Batman’s sidekick… who apparently has never heard of Robin before. Except, you know, the sidekick’s name is Robin.

Maybe he thought the kid in tights was named John Blake or something.

In addition to the boring action and tedious exposition, the character writing is bad. It’d be better read without any reflection, just the feeling of minor disappointment; examining all of Pope’s fails through the comic is depressing.

Pope doesn’t even come up with a good finale, visually speaking. It’s humdrum. They should’ve at least hired him a ghostwriter, though maybe writing it was part of the deal. He wanted to guarantee no one would ever think Batman: Year 100 could’ve been a good idea.

It’s a sixteen-year-old comic, and I still want my six bucks back.

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