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By Munawar Mobin

This week we have another DC Elseworlds comic review, namely Ed Brubaker's “Batman Gotham Noir”, and just like any noir comic, this one has that sense of morbidity and darkness in every panel.

The story is simple enough. Batman's police ally Gordon is set up and is framed for the murder of Rachel Hollingsworth, after he is drugged at a boat party. The corrupt mayor, who has ties with the dead girl, blames Gordon's drinking problems and paints him up as a killer cop.

Thus, the entire story is more about how ex-cop Gordon has to clear his name. Even thought Batman does play a role in it, he is obviously not the main character. As a true lover of noir, this reader found Gotham - set in the dark and grimy atmosphere associated with the genre - to be the most appealing part of the novel. The artwork complements the writing and the Bat is depicted as a blurry shape in the darkness. The disappointing bit is that the story didn't stray far from any other clichéd noir story. Cop/Hero falls in love/given duty to take care of beautiful lady with elegant dress. Cop/Hero is framed, runs from police, shoots everything in path to clear his name/save his family/save his love.

However, Ed Brubaker does make up for his clichéd storyline by adding tidbits from Batman's original story. He uses Harvey Dent and shows him to be the helpful and resourceful DA he was before he turned into Two-Face. He also depicts Selina (Catwoman) as a close friend of Gordon. The most interesting bit of the story was that somehow he managed to include The Joker in it, too. Even though his character's inclusion is short lived, The Joker still plays a part in the story.

A must read for all Batman fans. Should be an entertaining read for non-fans, as well.


BPL. Dreams shattered.

By Kazim Ibn Sadique

For every die-hard cricket fan, the announcement of BPL was a very exciting occasion. Yours truly was not an exception. There were plans of write ups, quite a few of them. Perhaps a centrefold of the opening ceremony, profiles of teams after the auction; discussions about which captain is showing his true leadership capabilities. In other words, there were big dreams, for me as a writer and, I'm sure, for the nation as a whole.

But then, the opening ceremony actually took place. And amid the dancing Bollywood stars and Bappi Lahiri's bling-covered folds, I failed to find Bangladesh. Bangladesh Premier League? This was an extremely cheap copy of IPL, tasteless and ridiculous. Team ambassador: Neha Dhupia. Are you kidding me?

But who cares, right, as long as the games are good? That's what we're here for. Ignoring the marketing fiasco of the overpriced tickets [this isn't the world cup, son!], I eagerly went to the stadium to watch the match. There was the slight issue of Masrafe complaining about spot-fixers, but that was stored away as well. After all, it's cricket. Bookies are always around.

Then Sylhet Royals, with their rubbish batting line up, decided to post a total of 165. On the Dhaka pitch, which has had very lousy record previously. Erm… ok. After that, Gayle happened. Nothing to say there. And then Chittagong walks in and scores 206. Really?

I stopped watching the games, occasionally checking scores and points table. And then came the big reveal: Sajid Khan [Sajid, Majeed, similarities anyone?]. Apparently he is a suspected spot-fixer, who has contacts with quite a few Pakistani players. His phone even has the bank account number of a certain player. Don't take my word for it. Check out the sports sections of the newspapers. It's all abuzz.

And, of course, there is the Barisal vs Chittagong situation. Apparently Barisal had the higher run rate, but the by-laws say that in the event of tied-points, head-to-head winner will go through. There are varying opinions, some insisting that it was already in the by-laws, some complaining that it had been written overnight. The final word is that Barisal is going through after a very long meeting with the BCB. The drama has gone too far and the logic has become so twisted that the only person capable of following it is a Hindi serial script writer.

My effort was not to finds faults with the tournament, however much it seems like it. I wanted to say good things about it. But since I couldn't do that, I decided to sit down and shut up for the duration of the tournament. But sometimes, it doesn't just get on your nerves, but bowls them over and you can't take it anymore. To quote a Facebook friend, Saajid, “This is simply not cricket!” You're right, man. It's a laughing stock.

Spare a thought for the state our Test team is going to be in after all this is over.

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this article are the writer's own.



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