The Neighborhood by Chris Dee
Batman is Matches Malone, gone deep undercover with the Irish Mob in
Hell's Kitchen in Cat-Tales: The Neighborhood.
Review: Probably my all time favorite Batman. - io9
It's just so rich and fleshed out and... and real!
Over the years, we've explored many different forms and genres in
Cat-Tales. We've seen one-shots to multi-fic arcs. Wholly original works to
variations of canon. Light-hearted humour to tragedy. Mystery to horror. Now
we can add noir to the list.
A good actor learns to live his role, of course and Bruce is an excellent
actor. You have to keep pinching yourself to remember that Matches is a mask
he wears rather than a distinct person in his own right. It isn't until you
start seeing Bruce's case ID codes starting to appear that you remember
again that this is Batman undercover.
The care and attention paid to every detail and nuance of imagery is so
vivid, it can't help but draw the reader in. You feel like you're tasting
the Jamie or the coffee. Like you're walking down the mean streets of the
Neighborhood. Like you're following the smell of cheap dumplings from
The best part is that it isn't contrived. We have a way into this kind of
world: Matches Malone. So we get to see things from his eyes.
I've been waiting for something like this a long time. I knew Chris could
pull of a perfect Batman Noir story,. but I never thought she'd try it. Noir
Batman is often a little too 'Miller-esque'. Fortunately, she spanks
Miller's more infamous lines in the opening chapter, so we've got no
For me, the best part of any noir is the world building monologues.
There's no denying that Matches is a bit outdated. Even worse, he's too
dim to recognize it. So how do you bring a guy like him into the 21st
century? Have him do it for love, of course. Even better: that kind of
sophisticated upgrade--in both clothes and palate--mean spending money.