So after rereading The Widening Gyre in full in preparation for my blog entries, I’ve come to realize that most of the really ridiculous shit that I want to talk about occurs in the sixth and final issue. So I am going to zip through issues 3, 4 and 5 in one post, and then the next one will probably be really long. Come along with me on this journey, won’t you?
We begin shortly after we left off in issue #2, with Batman tied up in Cornelius Stirk’s lair. Stirk is actually really creepy here, so kudos to Kevin Smith for getting at least one thing right. Just as Stirk is attempting to forcefeed human flesh to Batman, Robin (Tim Drake) comes to the rescue. After kicking Stirk’s ass, Robin teases Batman a bit about his new giiiiiirlfriend.
And you know what? Robin has every right to make fun of Bruce, because his relationship with Silver kind of makes me want to gag. Her family owns a private island and every day the two of them take a private jet there to fuck in the sand and feed each other strawberries and shit, before Bruce returns to Gotham every night to be Batman. This is all to set up that for Bruce, something’s gotta give; if he’s going to make serious commitments as Bruce Wayne, that has to happen at the expense of his Batman persona. Only one of them can really be dominant at any given time, and Bruce is weighing whether he thinks he can allow himself to put Bruce’s life before Batman’s quest. It’s not the first time Bruce has struggled with these types of issues (it is the central theme of the excellent Mask of the Phantasm movie, among other things) but to me it’s always interesting, and this story is no exception so far. In the meantime though, the island romps are pretty gross and boring.
The only awesome thing that happens on the island is the one time Aquaman shows up riding a narwhal and catches Bruce and Silver fucking. And he’s totally shocked that Batman’s into girls!
Anyway, somewhere in one of those Gotham nights, Batman finally formally meets the goat-man, and the two of them have an introductory conversation.
Baphomet. Okay. So, since Bruce is heavily considering leaving Batman behind in favor of a life with Silver, it should be pretty clear to the reader by this point that Baphomet is the dude he is contemplating passing the mantle on to. I just want to pause for a moment and ask – – – WHY?? Why is that even a consideration? Why not Dick Grayson or Tim Drake or one of the other five hundred experienced, established superheroes who Batman already knows and trusts? Right from the get-go, this premise doesn’t make any sense at all to me, and we haven’t even gotten to the really stupid parts yet.
Here’s one of the stupid parts. A little while later, after a teamed-up battle against Crazy Quilt (which Kevin Smith uses as an opportunity to express some legitimately interesting ideas about the differences between Golden Age and current supervillains), Batman is still stroking a big-time hero-boner for this Baphomet dude, inner-monologuing about how the new guy has qualities in common with all the Robins. But then, while the two of them are enjoying a post-fight hangout sesh on a rooftop, check out what Baphomet does:
Batman is seriously weirded out by Baphomet casually unmasking in front of him. He’s all like, “It’s too soon!” and even confesses that he has never taken his mask off in front of Superman (hilarious!). But somehow, even though he thinks it’s odd, Batman does not see this as the RED FLAG it is, and continues to think of Baphomet as the perfect protoge. I honestly don’t know why Batman is so retarded. It’s ridiculous.
So, that’s really all that happens in these three issues. Well, there’s also a subplot about how Catwoman is jealous of Bruce’s relationship with Silver, but it’s really boring and pointless. To sum up: Bruce is all twitterpated with Silver St. Cloud, he’s considering hanging up the cape and cowl in favor of a life with her, and he wants to pass the superhero mantle onto this total weirdo Baphomet for reasons only Kevin Smith knows. All of this shit comes to an insane head in issue #6, so stay tuned!