Occasionally, I read something so baffling that I can’t recommend it, but I have to talk about it. Consider it a warning.
Over on the Tumblr, folks like to reblog panels, and one I see a lot is this:
I would say Dick is kind of a Patrick Starfish type.
And it’s hilarious. Batman responds with I don’t understand the reference, but I make a note to look it up later, and we all have a great laugh at the idea of Batsy in the cave looking up Spongebob references. The best rebloggers among us even state what the panel’s from, so we can go read the comic and enjoy the context. In this case, the comic is Kevin Smith (yes, that Kevin Smith) writing Batman in The Widening Gyre.
I’m here to provide you all you need of The Widening Gyre and warn you away from the rest. Consider it a public service.
So our book actually starts off kinda strong, especially for those among us who like seeing Batman and Robin grow up to become Batman and Nightwing, Batman and Other Batman, or Bruce the Orphan Collector and his main squeeze, Buttcheeks the Happy Ninja. Which I do. So here’s all of that for you:
There you go! There’s a bit of a chuckle a little farther into the issue – Batman confronts Poison Ivy, and Ivy has a bit of fun with it, creating marijuana plants and somehow releasing the contained THC of the plants into the air without having to dry them first or bake it into cookies or you know what? I don’t know. I don’t know how that’s done. Let’s plead the fifth here and say she sparks up a doobie with her firecrotch to get Batsy whackadoo on the devil’s weed. And he has a total Hank Hill moment where he’s like My God I’ve been drugged. Come on, Batman, it’s not poison, Jason’s Robin tunic probably smelled like that all the time.
You never go grass-to-mouth, Batman.
Anyway, it’s a little funny! A little. But Batman has the force of will to fight off Mary Jane, and he does, but I think he maybe eats an extra sandwich later in the issue? Now, this might be unfair, but I feel like if Frank Miller were writing crazy Batman fighting off the marijuana poisoning it would be a lot funnier. Even Grant Morrison I feel like could give it the right amount of self-awareness but this is Kevin Smith.
Bluntman and Chronic Kevin Smith.
So, it’s a little…expected.
Anyway, the arc is focused on is two things: Batman’s romantic relationship with socialite Silver St. Cloud, and his working relationship with the vigilante Baphomet, who looks like the kind of guy where the inside of his mask smells really bad.
“He listens to REAL music, too, not that fake pop shit.” – Youtube user LINKINBLEED546
Silver St.Cloud is a socialite who has showed up in Bruce’s Babes Gallery before, but Kevin Smith takes this opportunity to update her by making her into a carbon copy of every other ‘cool’ Kevin Smith female. She’s sooo not clingy, lounges around the Batcave waiting all day for her Deedee in a Batman hockey jersey and pigtails, and is basically an ‘ass-to-mouth’ conversation away from being Rosario Dawson’s character in Clerks 2.
“Chasing Batman,” starring Joey Lauren Adams and Ben Af–oh.
Oh wait, sorry, we get our ass-to-mouth moment in The Widening Gyre. Allow me to share with you. Silver calls Bruce “Deedee.” It’s actually kind of cute in the beginning, I mean. Who gives Bruce Wayne a nickname? He seems to genuinely enjoy her company, and for a moment it’s intriguing to see Bruce with a female friend, someone who he can be a little real with. I mean, they’re also banging, but she seems to have a brain in her head.
This is the core issue with Kevin Smith women, by the way. They seem witty and cool and knowledgeable about pop culture at first because Kevin Smith is attracted to that, but underneath that they’re basically blow-up dolls. They wait for you and look cute in your shirts and read your comics if you’re not home for them to bang and let you put it in their mouth after – Jesus, sorry, I still can’t believe Clerks 2.
Anyway, she calls him Deedee for like five issues and it isn’t until after he’s proposed to her that Alfred finally gives in and says what we’re all thinking – ‘what the hell is with the nickname?’
This is her reply.
This is officially the worst fanfiction I’ve ever read.
And Alfred Motherfucking True-Queen-of-Gotham Pennyworth swoons and says ‘oh dear me! I taught him to RESPECT women!’ instead of what I think Alfred would actually do, which would be to scrub her mouth out with lye.
I’ve got no problems with a lady having a double digit night, that’s good times right there but you do not speak that way to Alfred Pennyworth.
Between the constant comments about how Silver and Deedee bang all day every day (for example, Aquaman comes to their private island because the dolphins heard them having sex and were concerned? And my understanding of dolphins is that they have all kinds of sex so I’m like, come on, they are not worried) and Batman’s frequent commentary about how he’s disgusted by stoners and fat people, I’m really getting the feeling that Kevin Smith is actually a 13 year old that put a quarter in the machine from Big, or that he wants Batman to dominate and humiliate him.
So, there is honestly more time dedicated to Batman’s dream vacation with Silver than there is to crimefighting, but when Bats is fighting crime, he’s doing it alongside the mysterious vigilante Baphomet. Baphomet even fills in for him when he’s got Double Digit Duty on Sex Island! What a great guy. And poor Tim Drake has to Robin it up alongside this guy and I have no idea why Tim Drake wouldn’t figure this guy out. He’s not even addled with double-digit-lust (any more than he usually is, being a teenage boy,) and he is GREAT at detectiving! I spend a lot of time worried about Tim with this Baphomet guy because Batman’s off acting more like the guy from that Snickers commercial where the football player gets hit in the head and thinks he’s Batman.
Honestly in the beginning Baphomet comes across as a fairly genuine guy, someone who wants Gotham cleaned up so his family can have a nice place in which to live. He isn’t like some other vigilantes we know – he’s nervous around Batman, and takes off his mask after fighting alongside Robin – which freaks Tim out because Tim and Dick remain fairly normal in this series. They remember their training and remember most of all that Batman is the most careful, clever, and resourceful human that has ever lived.
Oh, except for the part when Batman invites this Baphomet guy back to the Batcave for orange slices and Hi-C and pops his cowl off, introducing himself as Bruce Wayne before he knows anything more about this guy than ‘fights with a crossbow, says he has a family, thinks I’m cool.’
The orange slices and Hi-C comment is a joke of my own invention – this comic is so bad that I feel like I have to clarify that there aren’t actually children’s snacks in the Batcave.
Baphomet isn’t who he says he is, by the way, he’s the villain Onomatopoeia! Of course.
“Of course?” I can hear you now. “How is that an of course? I have no idea who that is, and there’s been no evidence leading to that conclusion so far.”
Firstly, don’t feel bad about not catching that. The of course regarding the presence of Onomatopoeia has nothing to do with well placed clues and everything to do with the predictable nature of the author. Onomatopoeia was Kevin Smith’s pet villain he created during his Green Arrow run. So of course he’s back to fuck with Batman.
Secondly, you’re absolutely right about there being absolutely no evidence to this so far. It’s the worst kind of plot twist, a Shymalan-style reveal that surprise, they were in a snow-globe all along! In this storyteller’s opinion, a good mystery has a conclusion that is both satisfying and shocking, one that’s just shocking is just cheating readers. It’s like playing Rock, Paper, Scissors and not telling anyone else that Dynamite is an option. It’s lazy storytelling.
Look, I grew up on Kevin Smith movies and I will always love Clerks, Mallrats, and Dogma. If he’s writing shiftless Jersey nerds in need of purpose or completely off the wall pop culture parodies, he’s fine. But Gyre isn’t a parody. It’s just bad. And it’s heartbreaking, because K-Smith is a downright Batman scholar. Regardless of how you feel personally about the guy, he loves Batman, and watching him fail so hard at it seems wrong on a very real level. If I failed that hard at something I was known for adoring you’d probably have to get Superman to talk me down from a ledge.
Keep in mind this comic is also infamous for having Batman admit to pissing himself during Year One, and I didn’t even get to that part. Here you go, though, why not, let’s finish on a damp, smelly note.
Common misconception, “Year One” does not refer to Batman’s age during this mission.
Follow Tini on Tumblr or Twitter at tinihoward, where she learned today that bats in the wild pee on themselves to clean up. Ew.