picon.jpgreviewbubble.jpgMore characters do not mean it’s a better story

You gotta love industrial competition. Linksys scoops Apple on the use of the iPhone, Zune tries mirror the success of the iPod, I-Gore gets stolen and renamed Mimic, the list goes on and on. However, Steve Jobs never dressed up in the skins of his enemies to kill his next victims, and last I looked, Bill Gates can’t carry a tune, although it would be pretty interesting if they did.

01.jpgThe key to finding out who is behind the Grotesk mask is to track down everything about Mimic and start connecting the dots. Problem is, everyone wants their hands on the notes, memos or anything else lying around. First it is Batman who wants to prove the technology was stolen. A good dose of intimidation works wonders on scientists working late.

For others, a nice song and dance number is a good attention getter.

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Introducing Johnny Karaoke and his Geisha Grrls; J.Lo, Brittany, Beyonce and Mariah! Yes, you may groan now. Anyone with a shtick seems like they can be a villain in Batman’s Rouge Gallery these days. I’m hoping next issue, DC will base a villain off of me called “Fat Man Who Runs Out of Breath Easily”. See, the gimmick is the villain will be fat and out of shape, and when he tries to move too quickly, he gets short of breath. Oh… and his henchmen will be dressed as Trans Fat. The mere sight of this villain will cause Gotham citizens to tremble in fear. Lame you say? Johnny Karaoke I say…

For this Yakuza crooner, gaining entrance to Omnimed takes a bit more firepower, and he’s more than happy to let the lead fly. Of course this alerts The Batman, who goes to investigate, leaving Dr. Strane alone to gather all the material on Mimic. Let’s see, a scientist alone in the dark, multiple groups after the Mimic technology, and a serial killer on the loose. I’m surprised Dr. Strane isn’t wearing a red shirt.

Batman meets Johnny and his Geisha Grrls in the elevator shaft, and there is actually a very good action sequence as the elevator continues to move. Fighting in close quarters is one of Batman’s specialties, and he quickly takes down each of the henchgirls. This gives Johnny a chance to slip away, but only for a moment.

Johnny isn’t all that he appears. Instead of being an Asian Import, Johnny grew up in good ol’ SoCal, has a perfect grasp of English, is well schooled, and was even on the fencing team.

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Seeing as how he is missing a finger (???), Johnny is probably as good a crook as he is at fencing. Turns out Johnny underwrote the development of the I-Gore device, and he’s out to get revenge on the company that stole the technology from him.

Almost on cue, the fire sprinklers go off throughout the building. This can only mean one thing, Grotesk has struck again. The fire, water, and confusion, give Johnny K. a chance to escape (to sing another day?).

As I mentioned in the last review, Batman is able to put two and two together and believes Grotesk is indeed the late Dr. Wayne Franklin. He tells Jim Gordon that it would probably be a good idea to exhume the body and see if the DNA matches.

There are three new villains introduced in this arc; Grotesk, the singing Yakuza, and Perun, the Russian mobster. Perun is still after the money owed him, and the trail leads right back to Dr. Amina Franklin, who has just come on duty at Saint Eligus Medical Center. And for those of you who were around in the 80s, that is the name of the hospital in the television series St. Elsewhere (season one now available on DVD). But there isn’t a funny Howie Mandel on duty tonight…

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Unless Dr. Franklin pays the money, Perun and his minions will kill someone else in the waiting room every ten seconds.

And… cue smoke bomb.

Batman was already on his way to the hospital to confront Dr. Franklin over her brother’s deeds, but while he’s there, why not kick some bad guy butt?

Oh yes, there is another installment of this “thrilling” drama to be played out.

The Good

  • …clichés are fun?
  • For what it is worth, Johnny Karaoke could be a fun reoccurring character if done right

The Bad

  • We know Batman can enter a guarded facility with ease, but how did Grotek get ahead of JK and crew?
  • J.Lo, Brittany, Beyonce and Mariah – both in this comic and the real world
  • The magic finger trick

I’m in to Batman for the long haul, and I won’t be dropping the title simply because of a stumble. If I did, Batman would have stopped being on the top of my reading list way back during Knightfall. There are, however, some redeeming qualities to this issue. As much as I hate clichés, if you sit back and enjoy it for what it is, the story can be fun. The artwork plays well, providing the artist can remember when a finger is supposed to be missing, and the “shock” moments are well timed. Still, I can’t get over the feeling that creating a villain of the week has been played out – especially when the back story of why the character turned is pretty weak. For Johnny K., the better approach would have been to simply ditch the singing Yakuza routine, and simple kill ‘em all. I’ll go ahead and jump on the “clichés are a fun way to tell a tale” bandwagon, and give this issue 2.5 out of 5 Stars.

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Parting Shot

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Discuss this issue in the Major Spoilers Batman forum.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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2 Comments

  1. james deckert
    December 19, 2006 at 1:52 pm — Reply

    >>Seeing as how he is missing a finger (???),
    That part lost me. The page prior and the page after clearly show that all his fingers are accounted for.

  2. December 19, 2006 at 1:56 pm — Reply

    Check out page 4, where his little finger is clearly cut off – he says “Lost part of me.” No other way to tie him to Yakuza than that, really… yet ever other page, the finger is there…

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