Empty Beauty: Batman: Odyssey #2 Review

Batman: Odyssey #2 features exquisite art by Neal Adams. The images of Batman in this book are spectacular, and Adams has not lost a step from his classic Batman illustrations in the 1970’s. You could lose yourself in this art. Which is a good thing because it is there in support of a story also written by Neal Adams. And reading this story is like being fucked in the brainstem by Adams’s drafting pencil after a half-dose of shitty brown acid.

I have no fucking idea what is happening in this comic book. It opens with Bruce Wayne looking right at me – literally making eye contact through the page – andapparently asking me, as a reader, if  I like his Green Lantern t-shirt. Then he says, “So, sure, it wasn’t a happy thing leaving Dick behind, but… what would you do?” Um, I don’t want to tell a legend like Adams his business, but as a long-time comics fan who has read many classic Batman stories, I can’t remember one of them where I was reasonably certain that Batman was hitting on me.

We move immediately into Batman, in a place called a geode, with some kind of neanderthal version of Batman and Robin (Who have jaws that look like they can hyperextend their jaws around just about anything) who tell Batman:

Then you need a mount faster than your legs.

And we have just the right mount, Master Batman… come.

Followed by Batman saying, “I feel so light… here, my step… ” So let’s break it down: we open the book with Batman apparently hitting on the reader. On the second page, we have two monkey people telling Batman he needs a fast mount and calling him “Master,” while Batman clearly says that he’s feeling light in the loafers. Are you fucking kidding me? What the hell is the Geode; Batman’s local gay bar?

Maybe it gets better on the next page…

And then they raise the abuse level… and start by nipping at you.

Wait –

Steer him like a surface horse… squeezing his belly with your knees.

Goddammit. how about –

Do you like their sensation, Master?

I’m gonna take a step back and talk about the art, which is impeccable. If you’re reading this Web site I probably don’t need to describe Neal Adams to you unless you found us by Googling “Catwoman’s pussy.” Adams’s depiction of Batman is iconic, and here it is just as good as it ever was back when he was drawing it more regularly. The action is fluid, the facial expressions are rock solid, Adams can draw anything from a dinosaur to a troll, and his visual storytelling is second to none. Unfortunately, that story is a Goddamned mess.

Seriously: I know that Adams can draw dinosaurs and trolls because both of them are in this story. This Batman story. There’s neanderthals that Batman tries to teach about morality so that they won’t help Ras Al-Ghul’s son come down and steal dinosaurs for some purpose. I had to read the book three times to figure out that much. The second time I could have sworn I smelled burning toast.

If you’re a Neal Adams fan, you should buy this book and revel in the art. If I come into some money, I might even buy a page or two at SDCC. I fact, I’d rather have the pages than the book. Because the comic pages don’t have the word balloons to absolutely and completely spoil the art.