‘Batman: The Widening Gyre’ review
By Brittney MacDonald, Contributor
Batman: The Widening Gyre, written by Kevin Smith, explores Batman’s personal relationships with everyone from his various protégés, to love interests, to the iconic villains who have come out of the Batman franchise over the years; yet, the graphic novel fails to portray a powerful female character.
The plot follows Bruce Wayne as his former flame, Silver St. Cloud, re-emerges into his life. She appears as an over-sexualized, pig-tailed housewife waiting for Wayne to come home for a roll in the hay and to take her out shopping.
The villains themselves are kept fairly minimal. Lesser known names such as Baron Blitzkrieg and Crazy Quilt are used to keep the focus on the internal monologue, though some of the more classic foes like Poison Ivy turn up as well.
Poison Ivy, one of the most iconic symbols of femme fatale and often perceived as a powerful lesbian symbol, is reduced to a crazed nymphomaniac in this story. As a woman, I find these characters incredibly insulting. My distaste for them ruined a good deal of the enjoyment I would have otherwise found in the narrative.
But the art by Walter Flanagan is impressive. It features a darker, more classic comic book style: heavy on the inks, but modern in its use of smooth gradients. It goes a long way to convey the gothic nature of Batman, but does fall short on the scenes depicting Wayne and St. Cloud in a tropical island paradise.