Monday, August 16, 2010
Okay, it's official.
Having seen it drawn by three different artists for the covers of three different comic books now, I'm pretty sure that I hate the new Batman costume. A lot.
Batman's costume changes fairly frequently, but the changes are usually very small ones. This is probably the most drastic change since Jean-Paul Valley temporarily became Batman in the '90s and, honestly, I think I may have liked that costume better (the first one, with the Black Panther-style cowl...although I coulda done without the utility garter, which JPV has since passed on to Stephanie Brown) better than the one above.
And, just so we're all on the same page here, the JPV Batman costume? It was a terrible, terrible Batman costume.
I don't much care for the piping on the new costume, which helps make it look very costume-y. "My" Batman—the one I was reading when I started reading Batman comics—always tried to pretend to be a supernatural, creature of the night in order to frighten the cowardly and superstitious criminals. The piping really calls attention to the fact that he's a man in a suit.
Worse still is the ribbing, which you can see most clearly in the first image, which marks it as a Bryan Hitch, Ultimates-inspired look. In other words, the costume looks more like 2001 than 2011.
But the worse bit? The second Bat-symbol on the belt-buckle. That's...that's just a crime right there, calling to mind Superman's Superman Returns costume, which similarly featured an echoing symbol on the belt buckle.
Batman is, like Superman, one of the most literally iconic superheroes. Literally. Their costumes are defined by the icons on their chests. Much of the rest of it is merely detail (Well, in Superman's case; Batman is a shape or silhouette plus a chest-mounted icon). I can think of nothing more superfluous on a Batman costume than a second Bat-symbol.
Finally, is it just me, or does this costume look an awful lot like Gary Frank's design for the Earth One Batman? Or the one from the Arkham Asylum video game?
Oh well. I suppose it's possible that it will grow on me the longer I look at it. Or maybe the Bat-artists will all just draw Batman in silhouette, wrapped in his cape or from the neck up in the Batman comics I read in the near future.
The above images are, by the way, the covers of Batman, Inc. #1 and Batman: The Dark Knight #1, and are penciled by Andy Kubert, Yanick Paquette and David Finch, respectively