cover image Batman: Year 100

Batman: Year 100

Paul Pope, . . DC, $19.99 (232pp) ISBN 978-1-4012-1192-9

Many recent comics have tried to make sense of the large political situations of modern life. A character like Batman might seem an unlikely tool to ponder the right to privacy, but in Pope's hands the effect is dazzling. The superhero trope of the secret identity becomes a metaphor for the past life we all want to keep to ourselves. When the Gotham City PD and other forces come gunning for what is under the Dark Knight's cowl, Batman and his cohorts protect it out of a basic sense of justice. As written, the Batman of 2039 is a living legend, seen in flashbacks that correspond with the dates the stories appeared in print. There's a metaphysical quality to the character, as if his very story is what is keeping him alive. Pope's art strikes a balance between traditional superhero comics and cutting-edge illustration. The big dark figure and the high action that follows him everywhere is still present, but played by figures that look like they could be found in an underground manga. It's been 68 years since the character's first appearance, and we still have Batman and Robin setting things right. Who says it will be different when the future comes? (Jan.)