V for Vendetta + Batman – Alan Moore = Batman: Anarky
Posted September 17, 2009on:
Who says that everything we review has to be recent? Nobody, that’s who! I recently came across Batman: Anarky, one of the trades on my extensive to-buy list. Fuck yeah! Every other time Anarky popped up, someone would snatch it up at the last second, but now I gots my very own.
Anyways, yeah. Batman: Anarky is a collection of every Anarky-based story written by Alan Grant (insert Jurassic Park joke) from 1989 to 1997, including the critically acclaimed Anarky miniseries. Ewwww, a comic from the 90s? What the hell does this actually have going for it?
A lot! Turns out that in the late 80s, Alan Grant actually became an anarchist himself and developed Anarky as a means of explaining his political views through comics. It kind of leads to a crazy amount of preachiness all throughout the book. Shit, Batman pretty much takes a backseat throughout all four story lines and whenever he does pop up, he comes out looking like a total jackass.
The four stories have pretty varied story lines. Arc one (Detective Comics #608-609) is pretty much Anarky’s origin story. A ripoff of V from V for Vendetta goes through the Gotham Gazette’s letters to the editor and begins fixing the problems posed in them by any means necessary. He knocks down a bank built on a lot that homeless people (including Legs, a legless Vietnam War veteran in a cart and a fucking amazing character) were camping at, forces a CEO to drink toxic waste, and puts a drug dealing metalhead in a coma. Batman comes to put a stop to Anarky’s vigilantism (pffft, hypocrite), beats the shit out of him, and then finds out he’s an ideological fifteen-year-old kid named Lonnie Machin. Slap a Zounds t-shirt on him and Batman beat up half of my middle school. To make matters worse, Lonnie manages to spray paint a giant Anarchy symbol on Batman’s cape when he isn’t paying attention.
Story two is from Batman Chronicles #1 yet Batman only appears swinging through three panels. The whole comic is Lonnie preaching anarchy to all the other kids in juvenile hall via radio while he and Legs rearrange the letters on a series of political billboards. Sounds boring, until you get to the end and find out that the moral of the comic is, and I quote, “POWER OPPRESSES, DON’T VOTE.” Yeah, fuck you, you Rock the Vote losers. You just want us to support the ambitions of an elite class who really doesn’t give a shit about us. The people just need to take back the power for themselves!
Whoa, what the fuck was that? That was weird.
Anyways, story three (Batman: Shadow of the Bat #40-41). Lonnie is placed under house arrest (where he has a copy of V for Vendetta on his shelf) and his parents are pissed that he’s turned into a kid with one of those blasted personalities that are all the rage these days. In his spare time, Lonnie’s gone and built a machine that fuses the two lobes of his brain into one AND becomes a bajillionaire through a company called Anarco that sells anarchist literature (apparently, that’s a lucrative market?). He and an extremely lame character named Joe Potato (who won’t stop making fucking terrible potato-related puns) fund a doomsday prophet who, as it turns out, wants to bomb the fuck out of Gotham. Batman, Anarky, and Joe Potato (who repeatedly states that he really, really doesn’t want to get “mashed,” ugh) team up to stop him. All three end up knocked out and tied to a blimp full of bombs. In the end, Batman stays passed out and Anarky and Joe Potato (who you can also call “Big Red from Idaho,” fuck!) save the day. Way to drop the fucking ball in your own title AGAIN, Batman.
The last arc is Anarky’s own miniseries. Shit gets weird(er) here. Anarky (with the use of his homeless army, led by Legs) uses some weird machine to bottle Etrigan’s madness, Darkseid’s evil, and Batman’s good to “de-brainwash” the whole world into forgetting society’s influences on humanity and get them to start acting for themselves. Or something? Anyways, in between preaching bicameralism and the philosophies of Aristotle and Plato to his dog (what?), Anarky pulls this off and is about to turn the machine on before Batman comes in and FINALLY does something useful. Anarky’s machine gets fucked up and throws all of it’s power at him, giving him some weird acid trip about the Ventriloquist taking over a prison and his plan falling apart. Thanks to this lame Dick van Dyke Show-style ending, Anarky realizes that he can’t force ideology on people and THE END.
Yeah, that’s how abruptly it’s over. “I really learned something today! Bye!”
Despite the shitty ending (and a weak last arc), this book was all right. I mean, it’s weird to think that the most enjoyable parts were when Lonnie got super preachy with the inmates and his dog. I’ve always thought that anarchy was duuuuumb, but it is interesting to see what somebody older than 15 thinks about the subject (even if it is geared towards informing those same 15 year olds).
A drink to pair this book with? I’d go with Pabst Blue Ribbon since it is the BEER OF THE PEOPLE. None of that greed-laced Anheuser-Busch corporate swill for us!