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Tuesday, January 07, 2014 

USA Today fawns over Brad Meltzer

Meltzer, still getting jobs in comics he doesn't deserve, was given gushing coverage in USA Today for a Batman story he's written:
Everybody knows Brad Meltzer as a Superman guy, but in reality he's always been a Batman guy.
No, I wouldn't think of him as Batman guy either, but if there's one thing he does have in common with Batman, it's the darkness. After all, he perpetuated it a decade ago.
So when the Bat signal went out and DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio asked him to be a part of a celebration of the Dark Knight's 75 years, Meltzer couldn't say no.

"It was that one thing I love, which is history," says the author and well-known comic-book scribe (Identity Crisis, Justice League of America) that's part of an all-star crew honoring the Caped Crusader in a special Detective Comics No. 27, out Wednesday.

"This is one of the great histories of American mythology, and to me the opportunity to try and do it justice was vital."
If he "loves" history, it's from a superficial perspective only. Some of the stories he was allegedly "inspired" by were very poor ones, like the mid-70s tale where several supervillains switched minds with those of the League, were duds in their time and his 2004 screed doesn't make them any better. There's nothing vital and he won't do it justice.
For his part, Meltzer teams with artist Bryan Hitch for a modern-day version of the first Batman story from the original Detective Comics No. 27, which introduced the superhero in an issue cover-dated May 1939.

While his is billed as a retelling, Meltzer insists that original six-page story in the 10-cent issue "doesn't need to be retold. It's a classic for a reason. Its like colorizing movies — you can redo them, but in some way when you do that you rob it of its soul."

Instead, Meltzer's take on "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate" — which introduced the "Bat-Man" as "a mysterious and adventurous figure fighting for righteousness and apprehending the wrong doer" — retells the story and keeps the murder-mystery plot but lets it examine why Batman exists.

"Of course, 75 years pulls out so much more of his psyche, but the pieces are all right there," Meltzer says of Batman's motivations. "It's almost like having all the pieces of Monopoly and you just don't have the instructions yet. You can still play the game."

He made sure to put in the two best parts of Batman for Meltzer: obsessiveness and determination.
If that's Meltzer's perception of Batman - as obsessive instead of dedicated - it's ludicrous and perpetuates the characterization that became more common during the 90s. He says the debut story doesn't need retelling, yet that's what he's doing here, so his point collapses in the dust.

Even when he tries to say he views Batman as a human, he fails to convince, because nowhere in the article does he refer to the Masked Manhunter's real name, Bruce Wayne, or mention any of the co-stars who've made him more than just a cypher, like Dick Grayson, James and Barbara Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth and Silver St. Cloud. And so long as Meltzer has no remorse over Identity Crisis, that's the definite reason why his supposed love for superheroes will not convince.
"I never will be Superman," Meltzer adds. "I don't have lasers that come out of my eyes, I can't fly, I can't lift a car over my head, but I can be Batman because Batman is just a stubborn guy who refuses to give up."
No, he cannot be Batman, because he does not have humanity and chivalry like what's seen in the best Bat-tales of yesteryear. But he can be a propagandist, because, like the worst left-wing thinkers, he doesn't know when to quit.

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I can't really take Meltzer's comics seriously after reading Identity Crisis.

And why are they updating "Case of the Chemical Syndicate?" Why can't they just leave it alone?

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