Got DC's sneak peak pack and checked out Batman #620 to see how DC would follow up Jim Lee's hugely successful Hush run. I expected this issue to take a turn for the grittier, what with the 100 Bullets creative team taking over, but this issue went farther than I ever expected the Comics Code Authority to certify.
At the opening, Batman is musing about how God is either spitting or urinating on Gotham ('if the rain comes from God, it's NOT his tears'). Killer Croc has been captured and is hanging upside down - as Batman interrogates him by punching out his teeth! Sure, Croc's a bad guy who probably deserves it, but for Batman to ruthless beat a restrained, defenseless person seems WAY out of character (in an All-Ages format book). Plus, there are a lot of gratuitous allusions to sex and sexual violence in this issue, including a close up shot as an intended rapist unzips his pants. But the sexual allusions go even farther, when a seductive and scantily clad woman complains to Batman about how she's not doing her job of seducing him, and he disagrees. She says, 'It's hard to tell,' to which Batman replies, 'It sure is. But you didn't hear that from me.' She retorts, 'I bet it's big,' as she points to her open mouth, with her tongue hanging out.
This is Parental Guidance stuff! Teenage audiences at the youngest! Did the Code really approve this for All-Ages? Have their standards changed?
What's happened to the DC Universe being for All-Ages? This is strictly Vertigo material. Has DC decided to take a page from Marvel's book of shock campaigns?
Take a look for yourself, or ask the opinions of others who have a copy. I ran mine by a few customers, and could always tell what part they were reading by their shocked expressions. By mature standards, this issue is no big deal. But, by All-Ages standards, Batman #620 goes over the top. Especially so when immediately following a highly acclaimed run that drew huge crowds of youngsters back to the book.
Common sense and comics publishing. Will the two ever meet again?