Batman: Ego and Other Tails by Darwyn Cooke

details
Title: Batman: Ego and Other Tails.
Writer(s): Darwyn Cooke.
Penciller(s): Darwyn Cooke.
Featuring: Paul Grist, Bill Wray, Tim Sale, Matt Hollingsworth, Dave Stewart, Jonathan Babcock, Rich Parker & Richard Starkings.
Publisher: DC Comics.

Format
: Hardcover.
Release Date: June 6th, 2007.
Pages: 200.
Genre(s): Comics, Superheroes, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401215293.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

thoughts

The beauty behind an idea is its multiple interpretations. Worked through different minds, said idea can come out in a myriad of forms. It then speaks to some people while it goes unnoticed by others. The numerous superheroes that have now existed for over eight decades are ideas that have been interpreted and reinterpreted by countless creators. And in the hands of some creators, they tell stories that either changes the character or the reader forever. Known for his iconic DC: The New Frontier story, creator Darwyn Cooke is a man with many talents and had multiple opportunities to work with other artists to bring forth his own unique ideas to life. And some of these ideas include the Bat and the Cat.

What is Batman: Ego and Other Tails about? This collection presents writer and artist Darwyn Cooke’s original vision of both the Dark Knight and Catwoman with stories that explore their unique personas and endeavours. From Batman having to face the toughest opponent he has ever had to deal with before, who is none other than himself, to Catwoman preparing herself for the biggest score she’s ever planned, that unfortunately fails as everything imaginable goes wrong, this collection reprints together some of the critically acclaimed creator’s work in one neat hardcover. This volume collects Darwyn Cooke’s one-shot story Batman: Ego, Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score, as well as stories drawn from the Batman: Black and White series and Solo.

“I am not sure how…not sure why… but as my heart floods with terror, I am sure of one thing: I am facing myself.”

— Darwyn Cooke

There’s a lot of love that goes around for creator Darwyn Cooke’s work within DC’s playground but not everything stands tall and firm to scrutiny. For instance, on one hand, Batman: Ego, which is supposed to be the highlight of this collection, has a broken down Bruce Wayne facing his alter ego Batman in a trippy confrontation that allows readers to grasp the weight and torture of his crimefighting days on his psyche. Unfortunately, this story only shows promise through its premise but falls flat in terms of execution as it barely gets down and dirty into the psychological warfare that could’ve been explored within Batman’s mind. On the other hand, the Feline Fatale’s story Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score turned out to be much more intriguing in terms of characterization as the story builds up like a traditional heist adventure. It also focuses on her personality and signature traits, as well as an unusual love interest that surely marks a big moment in her life but the story is riddled with a mundane writing style that easily distracts the reader into losing interest periodically throughout the story.

The collection does, however, offer readers the opportunity to further acquaint themselves with Cooke’s cartoony artwork as well as the artistic contribution of other renowned artists like Bill Wray and Tim Sale. Their styles work complementarily to Cooke’s writing and they all share similar traits from one story to another, oftentimes playing around with shadows, utilizing heavy contours, and plunging the narrative into a noir mystery atmosphere. The super-short Batman: Black and White stories interspersed throughout the volume are mainly forgettable and simply offer respite between the bigger tales presented here. The sketchy and animated style remains visually entertaining, allowing the stories to exist within a comic book world rather than the real world. It is not a style that is often seen nowadays but it definitely brings something special to the table to break free from the usual artistic vision of other artists.

Batman: Ego and Other Tails is an unspectacular yet curious collection of Darwyn Cooke’s stories featuring Batman and Catwoman.


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13 thoughts on “Batman: Ego and Other Tails by Darwyn Cooke

  1. I clicked through the picture gallery you had. You weren’t kidding about cartoony. It reminded me of the Batman Beyond meets Teen Titans.

    I like your thought that the superheroes are archetypes of ideas. It would explain their longevity and resilience despite being crapped all over by modern creators. The latest iteration of the New Warriors is a good example. Thankfully that was nipped in the bud. But can you imagine what it would do to Batman if he became Safeman and counselled troubled teens on the issues of body image and self-worth? You mark my words, at some point some creator is going to TRY some dumb crap like that and do irreparable harm to the whole franchise 😦 That will be a testing point on where the breaking point of fans is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s even more evident in his Frontier story, considered his magnum opus.

      Hahahah I doubt readers today would allow that to happen though. Creators are so active on social media, that anyone who dares go down a route that is clearly unsatisfactory usually feels the wrath of it on the income (or lack of) that they generate. The only thing these superheroes are getting used for more and more today is for political statements or to abide by diversity quotas required to satisfy a niche of readers… Thankfully, we can still choose what we read and there are great stories that have been already told to discover or reread! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mmm I am not really convinced about the art to be honest! Also I am amazed at how many writers and artists reinterpreted our comics heroes of old!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The artwork reminds me of newspaper comic strips. You’re right, it is an interesting departure from the more typical artwork seen in comic books today. Glad to see you mostly enjoyed this one, especially given some of the recent Batman stories you’re read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s indeed the kind of style he has. It’s a fun departure, changes things up a bit, and also makes me want to revisit the Batman Animated Series hahaha I might also have to revisit old favourites when it comes to Batman just to remind myself that great stories featuring him are possible! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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