Thursday, December 9, 2010

Comic Reviews

Knight and Squire #1

I had never heard of this title until this week, and even the characters seemed alien to me, before I remembered that Squire showed up in some of R.I.P. So I did a bit of research, and it turns out Grant Morrison created the current Squire. Those who read my review of The Return one shot know my feelings on all things Morrison, so I was a bit wary about this comic to begin with.

Knight and Squire are apparently the British version of Batman and Robin, although a great deal less serious and with a far more zany approach to crime fighting. The comic begins with actually a very cool premise: the setting being a magically-enchanted pub wherein heroes and villains can enjoy repartee and socializing without fear of violence or apprehension by one another. For two thirds of the comic we are introduced (or shown, perhaps, if you know the history) to a score of lawful and unlawful characters, who all seem, more or less, ridiculous. The only one I recognized was the ‘american cameo’ appearance by Wildcat.

The conflict arises when a duo interrupts the ‘trance magic’ over the pub, unleashing a maelstrom of activity. It seems like a scenario that would play out very interestingly in a different setting, say if it actually were Batman and Robin conversing in a pub with the Joker and Two-Face. Instead it just comes across as far too comical, without actually inciting much laughter; the characters are interesting, but just too silly.

Maybe that’s the purpose though? Perhaps I came at it with the wrong angle. It’s definitely a cartoon-y sort of comic, with silly characters (a Dinosaur in a suit, and a Milkman who’s attack is literally throwing milk bottles), and a writing style that will never be dramatic or gripping. If it’s a light-hearted read just for the sake of it, it’s a passable comic, but I can’t see myself getting too engrossed in this title.


  1. Cornell is a great writer, but a very "british" one. His style doesn't always work for everyone, but I've loved everything he's done to date, especially his run on the amazing Captain Britain and MI:13, which turned out to be his swan song at Marvel. DC seems to be willing to give him some great books, and take chances with him. His run on Lex Luthor (Action Comics) has been nothing short of phenomenal, and while this book might be considered a little more "silly", I found his style came out very strong. Witty/Funny, well paced, and full of dry-ridiculousness that the British are known for.

  2. Yeah you can tell Cornell knows the ins and outs of British slang and style just with the opening few pages hah. It didn't grab me right off, but that could be due to my lack of knowledge for the characters. I'll give #2-3 a read and see what I think of those as well!

  3. Gladney, there IS no knowledge of these characters to be had. They're brand-new. If you're going to keep reading you might want to know what a morris dancer is before moving on.

    One more nitpick.
    "Knight and Squire are apparently the British version of Batman and Robin, although a great deal less serious and with a far more zany approach to crime fighting."

    This is Batman and Robin we're talking about, right? They personified zany crime fighting for decades. I really think that's the vibe Cornell's going for. Jarvis Poker, the British Joker was brilliant! (a lot of this dialogue needs to be read out loud)

  4. As is the case with reviews in any medium, the one thing to remember is: to each his own. This comic just didn't appeal to me is all.

    Crippler, pertaining to your Batman and Robin comment: yes, I realize that decades of Batman comics were characterized by pretty campy scenarios (not that Adam West helped at all), but that arena of Batman seems long gone. I mean, he is now canonically referred to as 'the DARK Knight', and even back in 1940 in Batman #1, the Joker was committing murder.

  5. But like I said in the review, I didn't initially come at it from that angle, it's definitely witty and silly, and the characters campy enough. So if that's Cornell's vibe, he's hitting the nail on the head.

  6. I just read the third issue. It's AWESOME. I enjoyed the first two, but this was laugh out loud funny. The moment Richard III turned to the audience I was like.. bring on the rhyming couplets! BAM!..there they were. Great stuff.