Neal Adams is one of the most representative cartoonists that Batman has had throughout its 75-year history.
Neal Adams, accompanied by Dennis O’Neil and Dick Giordano, the same creative team that years later did a great job with Green Lantern & Green Arrow, has left us some memorable issues of Batman, which ECC collects this month within its line of Great Authors.
It is always important to frame a work within its context, and even more so with a character with as much tradition as Batman, through which many authors have passed, each one contributing their style and in some cases leaving a pleasant memory that has remained in the retina of the art fan. most classic comic
As they tell us in the prologue of the volume, the Batman series has had very brilliant moments and is influenced by the legendary television series of the 60s starring Adam West.
A series with cultural references typical of those years and with themes and colors that surely needed a change at that time. Right at the beginning of the 70’s, coinciding approximately with the number 400 of Detective Comics and the number 200 of Batman, whose cover was, precisely, by Neal Adams, we witness a stage where the series evolves, taking on a character more serious, darker and with certain innovations in the environment of Batman.
The first, that Bruce Wayne does not live in the mansion, but in an attic of Wayne Industries, under the pretext of being closer to the threats of the city and incidentally not being so influenced by the memories of the home of his ancestors.
On the other hand, Dick Grayson is in college, and that means that we often see Batman act alone. Also part of it should be noted that the publication format of the time was variable, since sometimes we had a comic book with a Batman story but from time to time they published a 100-page Giant-Size where they mixed the monthly story, rehashes of classic stories and adventures of Robin alone, taking advantage of the situation of the character and trying to give him a boost away from Batman, as a solo character.
Once the background is done, in this volume of Great Authors we are going to find several things of interest. The most remarkable thing is the detective aspect of the character.
Batman, in addition to being a very well-trained superhero physically, stands out for his intelligence, and good proof of this is number 404 of Detective Comics, entitled “The Phantom of the Killer Skies.”
In this issue we will have Batman, in Spain, unmasking a saboteur on the set of a movie. Another notable aspect would be the character’s traveling nature, which is not pigeonholed in Gotham, but rather we will see him travel to different parts of the world, Spain, Ireland, the Himalayas, the deserts of Africa… a circumstance very well used by Adams to show off as a landscaper.
Merit of Dennis O’Neil in this case would be to analyze the parade of villains that we are going to see, on the one hand, new, and on the other hand, classic villains, such as the Joker and Two-Face.
Among the new villains, Man Bat and Ra’s Al Ghul should be highlighted. In the first case, a doctor looking for a cure for deafness ends up becoming a mix between man and bat, with devastating side effects, and with Ra’s Al Ghul we are facing one of Batman’s most charismatic villains, an eco-terrorist the which wants to end almost the entire human species so that they stop destroying the planet and incidentally wants Batman to become an ally by marrying him to his daughter.
At this time we will successively see the first appearances of Thalia, daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, in number 411 of Detective Comics, which does not appear in this volume since Neal Adams only makes the cover, Ra’s Al Ghul and the Well of Lazarus, also a very important element.
If we talk about classic villains, there are Two-Face and the Joker, who also have their share of prominence in this volume.
The best for last, as they say, “The Joker’s Quintuple Revenge”, Batman nº 251, perfectly reflects the essence of this villain, and as Batman is always one step behind in his pursuit, until he finally manages to defeat him. The character’s detective character is perfectly reflected in this story.
Regarding the graphic section, in addition to Neal Adams’s ability for landscapes, we can highlight the composition of the figures, their dynamism, different page compositions, very varied, which give the comic a sensation of enormous freshness and the great expressiveness of the faces, which sometimes make supporting texts unnecessary, demonstrating a great ability for graphic narration.
Are we facing one of the best cartoonists in the history of Batman? well surely yes.
Screenplay: Dennis O’Neil.
He drew: Neal Adams.
Editorial: Ecc Editions.
Pages: 272 in colour.
Publication date: September 2015
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REVIEW Great Authors of Batman. Neal Adams and Dennis O’Neil. The Demon Parents – Tomes and Staples
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