Review by: TheNextChampion

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 3.0
Users who pulled this comic:
Users who reviewed this comic:
Written by KEVIN SMITH

Size: 176 pages
Price: 19.99

Let’s all face facts folks: Kevin Smith is at the low end of his career. He hasn’t done anything good since 1999 with the movie, Dogma. Hell that film wasn’t really his ‘A’ game to begin with. When Smith isn’t doing mediocre films he’s writing some pretty bad comic books. The first book in his run on Batman was called ‘Batman: Cacophony’ and the less said about that book the better. Now, for some reason, DC has given him yet another chance at Batman with this book. Which is actually the first volume of a twelve issue maxi. To put things in more perspective: Next to the ‘Rise of Arsenal’ mini, most comic critics have called this the worst comic to come out in 2010.

So this begs the question: Just how bad is ‘Batman: The Widening Gyre’?

I know you’re sensing a beating coming on but let me surprise you by giving you SOME positives. Walt Flanagan (no relation to Josh) has improved significantly to me as an artist. In ‘Cacophony’, he was playing fast and loose and the panels were just ugly to look at. Characters literally changed their figure in almost every panel. Here though, everything looks a lot smoother and sharper to look at. He seems to be going for a Brian Bolland-lite style to his pencils. There are times where I really thought Bolland was drawing this, that’s how close his style is now. When you get a big set peice, like Ivy taking over Gotham or a huge attack at a carnival; it looks pretty good. Although there are still a bunch of times where characters look really off model or their reactions match nothing to what they’re saying. Bruce in particular looks like he’s happy in every panel no matter what is going on. Plus his take on Alfred is pretty funky too. Flanagan is definitely learning more to be an artist but it still looks like he needs more time to really improve his skills.

Now we get to the awfulness of the story: practically everything else. This story is just a mess from page one. Characterization is off the charts with Bruce changing his personality wildly and everyone else is acting off character or stereotypical. Catwoman in particular is acting more like a whore then just a sultry woman. I know these two have flirted over the years but I doubt she would ever say ‘I’m not wearing panties’ in a regular Batman book. Other things like Poison Ivy using weed, Mr. Freeze acting more angerier then usual, and Smith’s take on the Joker is still pretty stereotypical of a bad writer doing the character. I like the new character that he introduces at first, but then he becomes such a burden that the final page reveal isn’t much of a shocker to me. In fact I am still not quite sure what the point of this story was. Is Bruce trying to relive the good old days with a better partner and active love life? Or is there something worst going on that Smith wasn’t telling us? The last two issues in particular are just some of the worst comic’s I’ve read in a while. There’s nothing more horrible I’ve seen then Smith just taking a shit (literally) on the fantastic moment in Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. I might have a bit of bias because I absolutely love that sequence referenced in this book; but it’s pretty horrible for Smith to try and make light of it. It pretty much sums up this entire book for me in a nutshell. If your big storypoint (or one of) if Batman taking a shit then you have big problems.

I was expecting to read a bad comic, but what I got instead if a horribly written comic. The art by Walt Flanagan is much more tolerable this time around but it in no way saves this piece of trash. Kevin Smith likes to say that he’s always high when he’s writing his comics. It shows and it might be the only time I will go on saying that pot should never be taken ever when you write a comic. This comic pretty much sums up Kevin Smith’s career at this point: It’s lazy, it’s not funny anymore, and anytime he tries to be edgy he falls flat on his face. If DC was smart they would never allow him to touch any of their property again. Sadly this book ends with a ‘Volume 1’ title on the last page. So god knows when volume 2 ever comes out; but you know who won’t be reading it? Me.

Story: 1 - Poor
Art: 3 - Good


  1. I am so glad I skipped this one. It seems I like every Kevin smith comic less than the one before it. I really liked his Daredevil run. Thought his Spider-Man was good. Green Arrow was good, if a little talkie. Then I HATED his first Batman story. Joker dropping pop culture references? The guy isn’t going to sit still long enough to watch a movie. Joker is NOT amused by Hollywood action flicks, he certainly wouldn’t sit through one, let alone quote it later on. HATED HATED HATED that story. I didn’t even glance at this one. 

    As for Smith’s film career, i hardly think Dogma was his last good movie. I think most of his movies are pretty enjoyable. None of them are really anything amazing, but they aren’t supposed to be. He tries to make entertaining, funny, foul mouthed comedies and he generally succeeds. I thought Clerks 2 and Zack and Miri Make A Porno were just as funny (and as flawed) as his earlier work.

    But really, that’s not really that relevant. Good review of the comic! I stayed away and after reading this, I will continue to do so. 

  2. Good review. It’s almost as if some of the comics with Kevin Smith’s name on them were just ghostwritten or something. I can’t believe that the guy who wrote that great Daredevil stuff also wrote this recent crap. I have no idea what’s gone on in his personal life, but how can someone’s mind plummet so far into the gutter. If a few years from now we hear a comic book urban legends that Kevin Smith actually hired someone else to write his early comics stuff, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    I didn’t read this but enjoyed taking stock of what was mentioned in the review. The Catwoman portrayal was especially disappointing. I lived through the Bad Girl craze in the ’90s, but I honestly don’t think there’s ever been as much sexism in comics as there is today, but here’s the thing: No one seems to mind or hardly even notice it. Yeah, in the ’50s and ’60s you had that one singular male chauvenist voice come in sometimes (Reed patronizing Sue or something). But now you just have women who are sloppy sluts with nothing on their mind but acting vampy all the time. And no one notices it. Meanwhile the costumes are nearly as bad as they were in the ’90s, but no one says anything about that either. In a recent Superman comic I thought Lois looked like a straight-up hootchie mama. Would that have been fine for another character? Sure, but at the very least it’s out of place for Lois Lane. But in the midst of trashing the book for other reasons, the comics podcasters apparently didn’t even notice how Lois was dressed. I’m not trying to be a prude, because sex-mindedness and skimpy outfits are fine and reasonable in many, many contexts. But in comics today they appear randomly, constantly, for no discernible reason, making the female characters seem vapid. And few readers even notice. Maybe our collective reading skills have just declined or something. I can’t figure it out. Maybe we just don’t value well-rounded (no pun!) characterization anymore.

  3. ^By “one singular voice” I don’t mean to imply that Reed Richards was the only sexist character in ’60s comics. I just mean that in comics of that time you’d occasionally get that one simiar-sounding cliche voice telling the female characters to stop bothering the men while they do serious business or whatever.

Leave a Comment