Wordy much?

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The announcement that Kevin Smith was returning to DC Comics with a new series caused ripples around the comic community. Many still feel betrayed by Smith’s previous attempts at writing a complete arc that suffered from excessive delays, while others got their geek-gasm on over the return of Onomatopoeia – a character created by Smith during his run on Green Arrow.  One thing you can be sure of finding in Cacophony #1 is a lot of Kevin Smith.

cacophony1cover.jpgIn a nutshell; Maxie Zeus is distributing a watered down version of Joker Venom in a new street drug called Chuckles, which has caused more than one death.  A distraught parent has hired Deadshot to kill the Joker, but things don’t go according to plan, leading to the Joker’s escape and an all out search for the mad man by Batman and Gotham’s finest.

I never read Smith’s run on Green Arrow or Daredevil, so I don’t know if readers had to suffer through the same thing that readers of Batman: Cacophony do.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed every film Smith has put out, and appreciate his warped sense of humor and what he finds interesting.  However, having these things appear in Batman seems really weird.    Homosexual relations for money, bestiality, pedophilia, necrophilia, and child murder are all up for grabs in the first issue. Fortunately Smith is not playing these things up for reader laughs, but rather to show how sick and demented the Joker’s mind really is.  This is a really different take on the Joker, and I kind of like it in a disturbing sort of way.  We’ve seen the psychopath, the thrill killer, and the sociopath, but I don’t remember seeing anything as sick as what we see in the pages of the first issue.

It’s not just Smith’s take on the Joker that is a view skewed from what we have grown used to, his take on Victor Zsasz is really creepy, and his dealings with Deadshot is dead on.  When I saw the preview pages of Onomatopoeia killing Deadshot, I was quite surprised as it seemed that Gail Simone would be screwed in what she is doing in Secret Six.  However, Batman’s discovery of how Floyd Lawton escaped a shot to the head is simply brilliant.

But it’s Smith’s interpretation on Batman that has be bothered.  Under the pen of Smith Batman becomes one wordy guy.  Never have I seen so many words come out of one characters mouth.  And it just isn’t Batman, every character carries on like the characters in Smith’s films.  The wordiness borders on the annoying, but fortunately the issues comes to a close before readers raise up their hands and shout “enough already!”

Overlooking the prolixity and the odd comments diving into the perverse, I like the premise behind the story.  We’ve seen how crazy the Joker can be when he’d tried to patent his Joker Fish, so why couldn’t it work over someone stealing his work and making a club drug out of it?  The set up for a gang war between Maxie Zeus and the Joker is well played, and puts everyone else in the story right in the middle of the action.  The one question that will linger for the next two issues is the role Onomatopoeia plays in all the chaos.  Knowing it is a character Smith created, I’m sure the answer is going to be unexpected.

The art was okay, but I was distracted by the extreme expressions on the character’s faces, as they look like their faces are made of rubber.  It does lead to some great action packed panels, but at times is distracting.

The good news about the series is it is complete, so we won’t have to wait three years for the final chapter to arrive. I like the general set up of the issue and look forward to seeing where everything is going.  I’m giving Batman: Cacophony #1 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

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39/39

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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3 Comments

  1. November 16, 2008 at 9:23 pm — Reply

    I liked this issue, but found it to be REALLY dark, with my current pet peeve of killing/threatening children to prove that characters are evil in full effect. Smith’s Batman characterization isn’t terrible, in fact he’s pretty likable, and Deadshot is spot on. I even like Onamatopeia’s utilization here, though the art left me somewhat cold.

    All in all, it’s a pretty perverse issue, so dark in fact that it kept me from buying a Kevin Smith-written book for the first time since his run on Daredevil…

  2. Brother129
    November 18, 2008 at 11:25 am — Reply

    Prolixity: GREAT vocabulary word. I love reviews when I have to look up words to understand them! Cool!

  3. November 18, 2008 at 12:09 pm — Reply

    I figured since I was talking about the verbosity of Smith’s writing, Prolixity fit.

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