BAT-VIEWS: A roundup of this week’s Batman titles

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The Thanksgiving week is a really weird one. It makes for a short work week, which is nice, but the four day weekend, where we stuff our gullets with turkey and spend the next three days in a stuffing filled haze can be a bit overwhelming. Such is the case with DC Comics and the plethora of Batman titles released each week. Since I’m such a Batman fan (he said with much sarcasm), here’s a rundown of the past week’s Bat-titles.

BATMAN AND ROBIN #17

Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Scott McDaniel and Rob Hunter
Cover by Guillem March
Variant cover by Gene Ha

Dick and Damian head into the murky depths of Bruce Wayne’s past to protect him from whoever has stolen the corpse of his old girlfriend, Una Nemo. Join them as they move from an empty grave to the flaming fingers to the Night Wedding — and meet a mad, gory new villain known as The Absence!

Uh… and I thought Grant Morrison was a tad on the weird side. At this point it seems you can give any villain a gimmick and call it good, but unfortunately, these days new villains that are simply tossed out there are ones that seem destined to fail. Which is a shame, because this story started out so well and had a lot going for it by Cornell. I like the mad cult, the double cross, and the mystery, but the big reveal was very underwhelming. Scott McDaniel has a very unique style that you will love or hate, but it’s best taken in relatively small doses. More McDaniel this soon after the Detective Comics arc is a bit too soon, in my opinion, but he must be high on someone’s list at DC as this is the second high profile Bat book he’s been on in the last six months.

BOTTOM LINE: WORTH A READ

It’s not as over the top as Morrison’s run, but I think Cornell is trying too hard to capture that lightning again. 2.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

BATMAN BEYOND #6

Written by ADAM BEECHEN
Art by RYAN BENJAMIN & JOHN STANISCI
Cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN

Hush is about to take care of Batman’s Super-Villain problem forever – so why is Terry risking everything to stop him? Maybe it’s the “scorched Earth” plan Hush hopes to unleash to complete his mission! It’s the earthshaking conclusion to our first trip back to Neo-Gotham – better hope it’s not the last!

Hush is really clone Dick Grayson, which means ol’ one-eyed Grayson (get your mind out of the gutters) and the new kid need to bring the smack-down to save Gotham from another earthquake to end all earthquakes. Beechen did a fine job at wrapping this story up that wasn’t a complete slap in the face of everything that came before. I like that Terry can make light of a situation, even though it’s implied that he killed Clone Dick. The ending with Waller revealing her ultimate Batman plan still fits within continuity, and Dick’s return, and then departure indicates another tale yet to be told… but not today. Benjamin generally delivers some good art, but the close-ups of the older characters just falls apart into a mess of lines upon lines to the point some look comical (Bruce), while others look frightening (Waller).

BOTTOM LINE: PICK IT UP

A nice conclusion to the story, though it could have been trimmed by an issue or two and still been way up there on the list. The Catwoman romance is a bit too much for a character most of us know is going to end up with Dana Tan, though that could lead to some interesting moments when the series goes regular. 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆

BATMAN: ODYSSEY #5

Written by NEAL ADAMS
Art and cover by NEAL ADAMS
1:25 Black and white variant cover by NEAL ADAM


Batman knows his Odyssey must happen soon before he loses himself, but Deadman invades The Dark Knight’s world and only sees the inevitable crash and burn of his old friend. Should Deadman add to Batman’s “crash” – or hold off and give the Caped Crusader a few last moments of relative peace? This is Deadman we’re talking about – of course he’s going to step in!

Oh, and there’s one more thorn in Batman’s side – in this issue, The Joker arrives!

Yeah.. I haven’t really followed this series, but since it wound up in the Batman stack, I figured I better get to it. I will say this about the issue, Adams turns Batman into quite the Chatty Cathy (look it up). Not sure I like that take on Bruce, though the Deadman schtick was nice comic relief as he jumped from the Joker to the Man-Bat, and in the process reveals the key to the next chapter – literally.

While I’m not a big fan of the flood of word balloons on the page, I have always loved Adams take on Bruce Wayne. There’s something about a hairy arm and chest hero that seems right. Layouts are superb, though there are a few times the breaking of borders causes some confusion.

BOTTOM LINE: WORTH A READ

If you like appearances by a large number of Batman characters, then this book has it all. The story, while a bit confusing to someone jumping in nearly halfway through, it is understandable enough to make sense. It’s worth a read if you are into the Bat books, and earns 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆

BATWOMAN #0

Written by J.H. WILLIAMS III & W. HADEN BLACKMAN
Art by J.H. WILLIAMS III and AMY REEDER with RICHARD FRIEND
Cover by J.H. WILLIAMS III; 1:10 Variant cover by AMY REEDER

Featuring a unique story composition that combines the art of Eisner Award-winner J.H. Williams III (DETECTIVE COMICS, PROMETHEA) and Amy Reeder (MADAME XANADU), this special #0 issue acts as a new introduction into the life of Batwoman! Things pick up roughly where the BATWOMAN: ELEGY HC left off, and this issue acts as a primer for the upcoming new series featuring multiple award-winning creators!

What!? Batwoman #0 was released this week!? WHERE THE HECK WAS MY COPY!?

Sorry folks, I hoped to hit them all this week, but as I explained to someone recently, I can only review what I have access to.

DETECTIVE COMICS #871

Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art and cover by JOCK
Co-feature;
Art by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA

Up-and-coming writer Scott Snyder (AMERICAN VAMPIRE) and acclaimed artist Jock (THE LOSERS) make their debut as the new ONGOING creative team of DETECTIVE COMICS!

In “The Black Mirror” part 1 of 3, a series of brutal murders pushes Batman’s detective skills to the limit and forces him to confront one of Gotham City’s oldest evils.

Plus, in the start of a COMMISSIONER GORDON second feature also written by Scott Snyder, when a figure from the past returns to Gotham, Jim Gordon must face some of his darkest demons. Featuring; Art by Francesco Francavilla (GARRISON).

If Scott Snyder is an up and comer, then DC better hold on to him for as long as they can, because his opening chapter of this detective book is very engaging. From the delightful interplay between Dick and Gordon and Batman and Gordon, to the snarky Dick comments as he stalks his prey, the writing in this issue is spot on. When it comes to the art, Jock brings his unique style, and it works really well in a series like this. I’ve always liked how Jock uses a specific color on a page and makes it work.

The backup story by Snyder and Francavilla just might be better than the main feature. I’ve always wondered what happened to Jim Gordon’s son (look it up), and this tale should fill in those gaps, and from what we are given in this first chapter, could be a very chilling look into Gordon’s past.

BOTTOM LINE: BUY THIS BOOK

Come for the main feature, stay for the totally awesome Commissioner Gordon backup story. Jock and Francavilla are two artists that I admire, and to have both their works in one book is a win/win for everyone. Without a doubt the best Batman book of the week, earning 5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★★

GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #17

Written by PETER CALLOWAY
Art by LEE GARBETT
Cover by GUILLEM MARCH

Catwoman’s been kidnapped, and now Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn must team up with Talia al Ghul and Zatanna to free her before she gives up her most valuable secret – a secret that will force Talia to desperate measures

Sigh… here we go again. After Catwoman lost it at the end of her last series when it was revealed a lot of craziness was part of Zatanna’s mind mucking seemed all too convenient at the time, and now “they” are at it again. Selina Kyle knows who Batman really is, and that is a liability as far as Talia and Zatanna are concerned. The ultimate conclusion is to do another mind muck and hope they don’t screw up again. From the story perspective this was a real yawner of a tale. On the art side, I really like how the layout matched and mirrored what was going on in the fantasy world chase sequence and the real world chase sequence. Andres Guinaldo’s art is all over the place in this issue. At times his pages look like something Frank Quitely would whip up, other times, they look like J. Scott Campbell’s style, and still others like he’s half-way channeling Adam Hughes and a plethora of other artists. Best to pick one look and stick with it…that or have a serious talk with all the inkers and colorists on the series.

BOTTOM LINE: SKIP IT

A rehash of a previous story plot, art that is scattered at best, equals a book that is really disappointing. I was hoping for a lot, but only got 1 out of 5 Stars in this effort. If you haven’t purchased this issue, I say skip it.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

There you go kiddies, I hope you’ve had your fill of Bat-views for the week. Pie anyone?

OVERALL RATING

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆