Monday, October 25, 2010

VINTAGE - Batman Forever Adaptation

O'NEIL, Dennis. Batman Forever: The Official Comic Adaptation of Motion Picture. 64p. DC COMICS, June 1995. ISBN: 1563891999

I know what you're thinking. They didn't. But oh yes, they did. They made it into a graphic novel. And what's worse: I'm actually going to review it. I did, however, make a promise to you about going through all the old treasures in my collection... and Batman Forever is in there. Sadly. It's actually been republished, too. There are different covers I've found. Dennis O'Neil, who is actually a great Batman writer, has his name on this piece of poo. That's surprising. If you aren't familiar with Joel Schumacher ruining the Batman film franchise, this is a loose adaptation of the movie with the same name. It revolves around Batman stopping an already established villain Two-Face, inadvertently creating a new enemy in The Riddler, and gaining a new partner in circus performer-turned-orphan Robin. Like most graphic adaptations and novelizations, this was most likely adapted from the original screenplay to coincide with the release of the film. Both came out in the summer of '95, so it's a fair assumption for this title.

A lot of the dialogue has been stripped down for the graphic novel. This might be an actual improvement over the film, since The Riddler for one is a lot less annoying. All of his origin stuff has pretty much been washed out in this version; he doesn't get the weird inspiration for his costume and ends up leaving Bruce Wayne all his riddles at once, instead of spacing them out over time as he did in the film. Two-Face's girlfriends, Sugar and Spice (played by Drew Barrymore and Debi Mazar, respectively) are both in this, which is odd. If you had to cut things, wouldn't you have cut the useless chicks that really didn't need to be there in the first place? They are in a lot of panels. A lot of the actual Robin origin stuff made it into the piece, which is nice because that part of the movie was stuff I actually liked. Some scenes, especially those involving the action, aren't fleshed out enough to really get a sense of what's going on.

Why do I keep referencing the film? It's hard to follow this graphic adaptation without having seen the movie first. That's a definite disadvantage. The characters have also been drawn very specifically to look like the actors portraying them instead of their comic counterparts. This concept was somewhat abandoned in later adaptation of the first X-Men movie. Wolverine, in some parts of his movie prequel story, looked like Wolverine instead of Hugh Jackman pretending to be Wolverine. I would have preferred a more stylized approach here. The artist obviously saw the film first, then drew panels to directly homage it. The story works in much the same way. There is a bit with Riddler and Two-Face, after getting smarter from "The Box" invention, are sitting around on a sofa and talking like they're stoned. That was fun but probably in the original script that got cut from the movie.

I kind of hate adaptations like this. Unless they are providing you with some kind of backstory or original piece of storytelling about the source material, as with the aforementioned Wolverine prequel piece, there's not a lot to even talk about. Unless we want to talk about how I hate them. There's a reason I saved this one until I was almost done the "Vintage" series. I really didn't even want to re-read it. You don't even get to hear the semi-crappy Seal song "Kiss From a Rose" when you read the comic. Honestly, it's easier to just go out and get a copy of the movie and watch it again. The art, while you can tell who is who in it, isn't anything spectacular to write home about, either. I realize that DC Comics put this out with nothing else in mind other than making a quick buck but I don't know. Attempting something a little more would have been nice.

1 comment:

George PR said...

Love the new blog design and great review of Batman forever in all its glory.