Comicsphere: Batman – The Chalice
Re-imaginings and Batman go hand in hand it seems, as just glancing downwards through the pages of this blog might indicate. This isn’t so much a character overhaul more a significance overhaul by placing Batman within a long line of heroes — a lineage that, given that the titular chalice is the Holy Grail, I hardly need mention.
The art within this book is the main draw and it was the art on the cover that made me buy it even more than the story I was promised. I suppose the story could be considered slightly slim — it isn’t exactly high concept but who said it always needs to be? Bruce gets given the grail and has to look after it. The moral dilemma, the temptation that it represents, is kind of skimmed over a little bit, whereas with someone like Batman it could really be run with as an idea.
The usual cast of villains turn up but, considering what is at stake, they aren’t really as dedicated to the pursuit of it as you might expect. I don’t know — I really liked it the first time I read it, I re-read it often and like it, but upon further consideration there is something slightly lacking about it. It is less meaty than it might be — this concept could have given certain writers a hell of a lot of mileage; I am thinking Grant Morrison – the guy currently defining the main thrust of what Batman is as a character.
I would recommend it. Is it an essential book in the canon? Probably not — more an interesting offshoot; a pleasant diversion that could have been much more.