The Widening Gyre(TWG) is Kevin Smith’s oft-struggling Batman story. Having read Cacophony, I had no mood to approach TWG. Cacophony was outright bad comic book writing, uninspired, exploitative, repetitive, unoriginal. I could go on. TWG however is better fortunately(anything would be!) in a sense that it does spend some time on things comic books usually don’t (things like Batman introspecting on overdrive, Batman going soft-porn/trashy soap opera(almost), a new sidekick who is mostly a bag of nerves when he is around Batman etc.). It has Smith’s characteristic tone throughout, in the way characters are very now(whatwith Twitter, which is a scary thing IMO) and streetsmart and all that. If these facts don’t offend you enough, there is the so bold it’s disturbing elements, which for some reason Smith mistakes for an adult graphic novel, present throughout here. I would just suggest some Grant Morrison doubled up with some Alan Moore as a quick remedy to start with.
A comic does not get adult by show of blood or amputated limbs or frequent tough-guy-speak. The boldness, if you will, comes through the voice of narrative and characters, the panic in the town(comic universe) pervades your thoughts and takes your reception to a different level, as opposed to build on a provocation , much what Smith does here and few of his other initiatives(films, blogs etc.)
Reading TWG is almost like someone took a C grade pulp novel and spliced in Batman characters, while consciously leaving out a possibility of unintentional fun.
A good thing in this book? The Covers.