Wow has it been a month since my last review? Today I’m finding out if you need twenty one reasons to read @spideyivydaredevilfan26's series Gotham 21.
Want to Check out Gotham 21 for yourself? Follow the Link to the Gotham 21 Library Gotham 21 Library
Those with keen Machevellian minds may have already worked out that this series is set in Gotham City. Those blessed with more insight then Sherlock Holmes may have guessed that there are twenty one characters. The one thing I didn't guess was who these characters were; what SpideyIvyDaredevilFan26 (Here by abbreviated to SPIDF26) has done is created an amalgam universe where both DC and Marvel characters exist together. But don’t expect this to be some kind of ‘heroic age’ the world is a dystopian wasteland ruled by a coalition of Doctor Doom, Lex Luthor, the Kingpin and the Scarecrow. And while the villains are in control there is an apposing force made up of vigilantes, anarchist villains and conservative heroes, they are the Gotham 21. And while there mission is the same how long will these very different figures be able to hold a tenuous alliance?
For starters SPIDF26’s world of the Gotham 21 is very clear cut; almost immediately in Issue 1 the readers are told what the situation is, who was involved in implementing the regime and who the key figures are. And while this could have been quite easily been conveyed in the actual story its inclusion elsewhere leaves more space for dialogue something that SPIDF does very well. There are plenty of times where the writer makes sure (especially in the later issues) to vary his voice types, something that occasionally gets overlooked by other writers.
The choice of characters is another feather in SPIDF26’s cap; while he has chosen well known characters; Spiderman, Poison Ivy, Bane and Moon Knight to name but a few. While there is a sense of what these characters where it is clear that SPIDF26 has really thought about how five years living in a totalitarian state would have changed these characters (or in some cases not changed them) and has really made these characters his own. In addition the Joker is not part of the Gotham 21 something I applaud. Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate the character, it’s just his complex behaviour and the psychological aspect of the character makes him hard to write effectively. It appears that SPIDF26 has come to the same conclusion and has mad the Clown Price of Crime a auxiliary character instead of one of the titular team.
The Things That Could be Improved:
Strangely this is the part I hate writing the most. Telling someone that their fan-fic could be better is easy, writing what they need to do is even easier but writing it in a way where you don’t feet like you've stabbed them in the back is hard. For SPIDF26 the critiquing starts at the Library page, I’m first to admit I’m not the tidiest person on site or in real life but the overloading of images makes the page hard to navigate. That might just be me but I like to know what I’m looking at without having to wade through litres of images before I can find the link I’m looking for.
The other points I’m going to raise have in a sense been dealt with. Early on in the series they were some glaring irregularities ranging from starting a sentence with a number to strange formatting. And while that is certainly annoying the fact that in later issues SPIDF26 has avoided such things shows a strong writer who’s not afraid to take criticism onboard and evolve his tale accordingly.
The second point is something a lot of writers suffer with (not just SPIDF26) and that is writing a fight scene. This isn't totally the fault of the writer, more it has to do with the link between what we see and how the brain interprets information. The brain (like some other animals such as magpies and gibbons) likes to look at pictures, since what the amateur writer puts down on paper likely has no corresponding images it’s already at a disadvantage. You could write the best fight scene ever but for all the brain cares it’s a block of fairly uninteresting prose. Neurology aside though the few fight scenes in Gotham 21 could be improved mostly because characters reaction times, resilience, skill (or lack of) seems to be greatly underappreciated.
And with that said now you know why I hate writing this section.
Pros and Cons
For all you people who simply skipped to the bottom of the piece
+ Diverse Range of Characters
+ Interesting Development of said Characters
+ Gets straight to the point to free up space for dialogue
+ Avoided the ‘Joker Trap’
- My brain is a magpie
- Fight Scenes are at times a little lack lustre
- Strange Formatting in Earlier Issues
- Library could benefit with less images