Tag Archives: Alfred

My Review of Wayne of Gotham, by Tracy Hickman

27 Dec

December 27, 2018

I guess there is only one Batman story possible, because in Wayne of Gotham we’ve seen it all before. Batman reopens the Wayne murder case. Again. Thomas Wayne may have been mixed up with criminals, or been one himself. Again. A rift between Bruce and Alfred. Again. The writing was good enough to keep me reading but the plot? Nah. And the characterization? Since when does millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne disguise himself as an invalid and have Alfred push him around in a wheelchair, in the privacy of his own estate, in the hopes that a paparazzi will jump a fence and snap his picture a ‘la Howard Hughes? When was Alfred promoted from butler to Bruce Wayne’s public relations flack and a high level Waynecorp officer? To be fair, this book suffers from coming out within just a few short years of Grant Morrison’s amazing Batman run, which dealt with the Wayne murder and Bruce’s backstory in a much more interesting way. (DC is once again dealing with this in their current comics.) It is just a shame that Hickman felt that the same ground had to be covered yet again. Where is the originality?

Now that I have finished the book, I have a few questions. When did this take place? It claims to be Batman’s final case but there is no sense of where this occurs in his career. Where were Dick Grayson or any of the regular supporting Bat-cast? And worse- did Tracy Hickman know anything at all about Batman before starting the book? Batman has always been about the man inside the suit, not about the Batsuit, yet Hickman seemed enamored of the technology. Tons of words were wasted on the gyros in the Batsuit, the power cells in the utility belt, the way the Batmobile connects to the power grid. Is this Iron Man or Batman? In Iron Man the technology is a vital part, in Batman it is merely there. The Joker’s quote from the 1989 movie had it right- “where does he get those wonderful toys?” They are just toys, tools, nothing more; yet to read this book, you’d think it was Tony Stark in the Batman outfit.

This Batman was full of doubts and paranoia. He had none of the confidence of the Batman we have known for years. I found myself not caring about him.

The Joker had a tiny, bit part, probably because Hickman assumed the Joker turns up in every single Bat story. He was used to zero effect here. And again, does Hickman know anything about the Batman universe? The Joker was described as wearing old, cracked white greasepaint. No, the Joker’s face is white already, no paint needed. How did an editor let that slip by?

By the end, the plot had grown confusing and uninteresting, the characters were either unlikable or poorly characterized, and the writing average. I give the book one star because aside from all my criticism, the real problem with the book is that the plot was horrible and not only did not hold my interest, it seemed designed to confuse and annoy the reader.





Secret Origin of a Super Hero

29 Aug

August 31, 2011

Do you think Batman just woke up one day and decided to be Batman? No, it took years of training in various martial arts, years of acquiring the mental and deductive skills of master detectives, years of gaining the technology and physical prowess to perform at the peak of human ability. And also the horrible murder of his parents.

However, Bruce Wayne wasn’t the only one to wear the cape and cowl. At various times he was replaced by Jean-Paul Valley, by Dick Grayson (twice), and even Alfred.

Chief O'Hara is skeptical that this arthritic old man could defeat the Bookworm.

And then there is Mark Wayne Williams (no relation to Bruce Wayne, I suspect.)

This paunchy potential protector of the public was found hanging- yes, hanging- off the wall of a Detroit business. He had apparently hooked his Batrope on the roof and was, well, details are sketchy on what he was doing there. Perhaps he was on patrol. And although there is no indication, I like to think that he was hanging upside-down like a bat.

I feel very sorry for the police who had to hoist him back up to the roof because he was really weighed down, and I’m not just talking about his gut. According to other reports, he was carrying a virtual arsenal in his utility belt, which had better have been reinforced.

Something tells me that “Batman” is in for a long stay at Arkham Asylum.

Mark Wayne Williams seems to really live the superhero lifestyle. Unfortunately, his not-so-secret identity is known to the police. Here he is posing at the police station for, he probably believes, his public commendation from Commissioner Gordon.

Given that Mark Wayne Williams is no Bruce Wayne, and that Detroit is certainly no Gotham City, I have to figure that every city gets the crime fighter it deserves. However, I have to wonder about his dedication to the Bat.

The Crow? Sheesh, just let me know when he starts dressing like Wonder Woman and runs down the street with his arms spread wide pretending to be in his invisible jet.


Remember Johnathan T. Pinney, AKA Doctor Mayhem, the convict who wanted his own island, access to the world’s technology, and a secret volcanic lair? It seems that he is now looking for love. He wants that special woman with whom to share dominion over the planet. Or any other planet.

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