Crossovers sell! When we get to see various characters interact with each other that we’re not used to seeing, that’s worth plunking down one’s hard-earned cash to read.
Then, too, Batman’s been doing very well! I saw long lines at Mr. King’s booth at the recent Baltimore Comic Con as well as good numbers for the book in recent months.
So why not bring various members of the Bat-family together for a special event?
Previously in BATMAN: “NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN” part 1! The first crossover of the “Rebirth” era is here! As a huge storm approaches, Batman, Batwoman, and Nightwing try and prepare Gotham City for the worst, but nothing can prepare them for enormous tall monsters rampaging through the streets! Batman will need all of his allies to unite in order to stop these mad science monsters from tearing their city apart!
THE BIG KICK-OFF
Before we go any further, here’s another description from DC about this event: “Monsters! Morgues! Floods! Flashbacks! A totally ripped Dr. Strange! And that’s just in the first issue! ‘Night of the Monster Men’ is a six-issue storyline creeping into the pages of BATMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS and NIGHTWING over the next four weeks. As fans who grabbed this week’s first two chapters will tell you, this Steve Orlando-scripted story is a creepy, large-scaled monster movie epic that promises to change the face of Gotham forever. And best of all, you can jump right in even if you haven’t read the prior comics in the series.”
I knew the new Batman title would be something different, and that’s okay. Mr. King and company should (and have) take the hero in a new direction, not trying to resemble the last several years. I applaud their work!
Both this issue and Nightwing #5 were released this week, and it’s important to read these in sequence – Batman first, then Nightwing. This event will move from one book to the next, so it’ll be critical to read them in order.
So, Hugo Strange and monsters? Has someone been watching Gotham? Hmmm? Of course, Strange has been around DC for years, even decades, and he’s done some really horrendous things to the Dark Knight and the city he loves. He’s one of the more devious and also brilliant members of Batman’s rogues’ gallery, and there’s a lot to be done with him.
It’s interesting that the team from Detective Comics plays such a big role in this debut issue. That book has really soared since it first hit the streets, so it makes sense to start with your biggest bang. Not that Batman hasn’t done well. It has, but the reaction to Detective has been profound and excellent. This helps integrate that title into the Bat-verse, as well as Nightwing, who’s back from the “dead.”
I really enjoyed the scope of this book, which did a great job of giving this event a different feel – something grander in scope, so big that the Bat-folks will be challenged by it. It was also cool that things unfolded slowly, with one monster appearing, followed by others. A good detective story leads us along from clue to clue, and I thought this kick-off issue did an excellent job.
I’m still a little uncertain about the “feel” of this issue, though. (To some people, this will be a huge positive, but to me it gave me pause.) To me, it had the feel of a Marvel comic, which I think means lots of motion and action, but not a tremendous amount of depth as far as impact on the characters or the city. There’s quite a lot of running from place to place, much like Doctor Who as well. I would have liked a little more in the “surprise” department. But maybe that’s me.
The use of the characters was very good. It’s a treat to see Batwoman back in DC, and I like the way Mr. Tynion has fleshed out the younger Batman allies. And yes, even Clayface.
Tom King is doing a great job with the Dark Knight, and he’s collaborating with Steve Orlando on the Batman issues. (Orlando will be working with the regular scripters in the other two books as well.) It felt right in step with the previous issues. I also did enjoy bringing in a character we’ve seen before in recent months, which added some emotional punch to the monsters. It helped make the big threats at least somewhat relatable, instead of just “dumb animals.” I hope we find out more as the event happens.
ART THAT REALLY STUNNED ME
I very much enjoyed the art, which has a painted style. Many of the action sequences were high-octane, and that pulled me along well. However, there were some facial expressions that seems a little too “anime” for my tastes – you know, not much in the way of detail. I guess I can say I enjoy more detail than most in the expressions. That helps me care about the characters.
The colors really sent me, though! The rainy backgrounds were outstanding, and the use of the city as a backdrop really were thought-out and dynamic. They had a lot to do with me feeling like I “fell in” to this issue. Great job, more!
BOTTOM LINE: A STRONG DEBUT
As I mentioned, I’ve also read Nightwing #7, so I think this week’s beginning to “Night of the Monster Men” is off to a great start. A few more surprises would be very cool, though!
This kind of thing drives collectors mad, of course. Do they put all the parts of the event in one place, or do they keep them with their own individual titles? I know people who do both, actually, so it’s up to personal preference.
Still, it’s an engaging story that’s well told, so I’m looking forward to the upcoming chapters in “Night of the Monster Men.”
I do have one request, though. Please don’t turn Hugo Strange into a monster. Been there, read that comic!