The Widening Gyre #2, taken on its own, isn’t all that horrible. If it was the first chapter I read, I would think the story was a little silly, a little bland, and that all the characters inexplicably spoke like Reservoir Dogs. But I wouldn’t think it was completely off the wall batshit crazy.
We open at an amusement park, where Batman has hunted down a notorious child abductor known as Fun Land. Fun Land is a big fat dorky guy, and for some reason Batman can’t stop making fun of his fatness.
Whoa. Bloated turd? Jeez. Intense self-loathing on K-Smith’s part maybe? I dunno.
Anyway, Fun Land almost gives Batman the slip, but once again the unnamed goat-masked guy from the last issue swoops in and saves the day. But before Batman has much time to reflect on this (just seven word balloons, barely a full thought by Kevin Smith standards), Toyman suddenly attacks Gotham City with a giant robot, for no real reason.
Superman, of course, shows up and saves the day, and then unceremoniously flies off again. I don’t know why Superman is in the story. He’s there for about a page’s worth of action, and his presence adds absolutely nothing. I am guessing Walt Flanagan just really, really wanted to draw a picture of Superman. But when it was his time to shine, he accidentally drew a picture of a chimp who had reconstructive facial surgery after a terrible fire.
Let’s take a closer look at that:
Yikes. I guess now we know why they call him The Man of Tomorrow.
I guess Superman’s antics do serve one purpose, which is to give Robin a chance to chide Batman for his lack of faith and trust, which will become a major theme in this story. “If you can’t trust Superman,” he says, “who can you trust?”
So the next day, Bruce Wayne wakes up to a surprise guest at Wayne Manor – Silver St. Cloud!
I will pause here for a moment to tell you a little bit about my personal history with Batman. I first got super into Batman after seeing the 1989 movie when I was 9 years old. After that, I grabbed Batman comics for cheap whenever I saw them, which meant that most of my early exposure to Batman comics were issues from the 1970’s that I found at yard sales or in 25-cent bins. As it turned out, one of the very first stories I read was Strange Apparitions, from 1977, which featured the first appearance of rich and famous Gotham socialite Silver St. Cloud. Therefore, even though (according to Wikipedia) she only ever appeared in two other stories, for young just-getting-into-comics me, she was always the girlfriend for Batman. So for me personally, seeing her show up in The Widening Gyre was kind of exciting. She really was the one that got away! But don’t worry guys, it wouldn’t take very long for Kevin Smith to make me totally hate her.
So now Silver’s back, and her and Bruce are sitting under trees, and looking into each other’s eyes, and holding hands, and it’s all very ooey gooey.
Speaking of ooey gooey, we then cut to Cornelius Stirk cooking some dude’s heart. I always thought Cornelis Stirk was a cool, creepy character who didn’t get enough attention from writers. And shockingly, Kevin Smith doesn’t fuck him up too badly. Well, this part’s kind of dumb…
…but generally, the character’s done right. And the “sir”s still send creep-shivers up my spine.
Batman shows up to kick his ass, and hey, guess how Batman feels about murdering people and consuming their flesh?
He doesn’t like it!! You can tell because he’s punching him in the face. Stirk tries to fight back with an axe, and when that doesn’t work, he uses his Timberlake-summoning powers to appear as Silver St. Cloud and as the goat-mask guy, disorienting Batman. He then knocks Batman out cold, and the issue ends.
All in all, issue #2 is fairly non-retarded compared to the lion’s share of the story, but trust me, some really really retarded shit is coming up!