By Will Barber – Taylor
After the previous edition’s Christmas theme, this time we look at a much more recent Batman comic which deals with the modern fear of biological terrorism using aeroplanes in Terminal (Detective Comics Vol 2 #35 – 36).
Terminal is a story which plays very much on modern fears and concerns; it is a story that couldn’t have been written twenty years ago as it would have seemed inconceivable. The technology that is used in the story isn’t so far off from the things that modern terrorists can do, so it makes the tale even more frightening.
We start off with The Dark Knight preparing to take a holiday due to exhaustion. While waiting to take off, Bruce Wayne finds out that someone – or something is trying to destroy Gotham airport and bring terror to its citizens using airborne toxins. Deciding to take the matter into his own hands even though he is trying to have a holiday, Bruce dons his Batman costume and sets to work.
The main problem with Terminal is that it is too short. While a lot of Batman stories are ruined by being too long, Terminal is ruined by being too short. Everything moves along at such a speed that you don’t really get any feeling for any of the characters involved and so when they die of the toxic terrorism it doesn’t really impact on us the reader. The terrorists plot is also bizarrely complex and seems to not make any logical sense. He wants to cause chaos but he doesn’t seem too interested in making it happen. It doesn’t even seem to be sensible in its execution which is how Magnus Magnuson intends to make sure the contagion is sent to Gotham on time and that will actually work. Magnus seems as unsure of his purpose as the writers do with the plot.
However, there are some good pieces of art in the comic thanks to the great work of John Paul Leon. Leon brings an almost sketch like quality to his work, making his figures look more static but none the less interesting to look at. His illustrations of Batman are particularly fascinating; he makes The Dark Knight look more machine-like than man-like in some panels and this emphasizes Batman’s other worldly quality.
Overall, Terminal is an interesting look at the current situation that is faced in regards to terrorism but falls down because of its lack of development and absence of pacing. The story moves along too quickly from point to point without letting the reader have any breathing space. The artwork is interesting and provides some nice aesthetic distraction from the story’s faults but it doesn’t save it.
In the next edition we look at a classic Batman tale in: The Killing Joke.