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BATMAN: THE MOVIES (1997)

Story: Dennis O'Neill, Artwork: Various

This prestige format edition collects the four Batman movie one-shots. I consider the comic book format of the movies as ''elseworlds'' because they obviously take place out of the ''real'' Batman universe. All four of them are written by Dennis O'Neill, but drawn by different people, so their quality varies.

The adaptation of the first movie is drawn by the famous (especially for his Superman work) artist Jerry Ordway. The likeness of the actors is well captured and the inking-coloring is fantastic. It really gives you the sense that you are ''reading a movie''. Of all the pencils in the four one-shots, Batman 89's is certainly the best. Overall, a nice read.

Then comes Batman Returns. The pencils are not as great as the first movie's, but they are very good. The inking is nice, but what really sucks is the coloring. While the adaptation of the first movie looks like computer-coloured, with excellent shading, in Batman Returns the colours look flat and amateurish. A nice read nonetheless, but flawed due to the colouring.

Batman Forever is much inferior as a movie, but it's far superior as a comic, compared to Batman Returns. The pencils are as good as the first movie's, the inks sharp and the colouring brilliant, with excellent use of the computer colouring program. Like the first movie's adaptation, it's like reading through a movie.

Now, Batman & Robin. With a film as bad as this I wonder why they bothered. In the comic adaptation, of course, there's no bat-card (''never leave the cave without it'') or ''This is why Superman Walks alone'' but the story is still bad. Of all the comic adaptations this is the most interestings, since it's the most ''comic-bookish''. They even drew Batman and Robin with white eyeslits, like the comics. Overall, it's not as good looking as the adaptations of Batman 89 and Batman Forever, but better looking than Batman Returns.

I'm one of those that believe a comic adaptation of a film can't be perfect, and this book proves it, although the Batman movie adaptations are some of the best ever (while some others were very amateurish, like Robocop 2, Terminator 2 or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). For fans of the movies this is a must have.