Batman And Frankenstein #31 Review

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The Batman’s mad quest to resurrect his lost son Damian he led him to extreme measures. One of those included capturing the hero known as Frankenstein and dissecting him to find out how he ticks, in the hopes of applying that theory to his lost Robin.  I suspect that this may make for a rather awkward reunion…  Your Major Spoilers review of Batman And Frankenstein #31 awaits!

 

BatmanAndFrankenstein31CoverBATMAN AND FRANKENSTEIN #31
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Christian Alamy and Keith Champagne
Colorist: John Kaliscz
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Batman And Frankenstein:  It was a story worthy of classical tragedy: A boy, unknowingly fathered by a hero with the daughter of his oldest enemy, raised by the mother as an assassin, then abandoning her to find his lost father.  Unfortunately for Damian Wayne, the ending was just as tragic, with his own cloned “brother” killing him at mother’s command, sending his father into a spiral of grief and despair.  Of course, even Euripides wouldn’t have foreseen Ras Al Ghul returning to steal the bodies of his daughter and grandson, spiriting them away that he can resurrect both as members of his undead League Of Assassins.  It got complicated there for a minute, but long story short, Batman is on the hunt for the body of his fallen son…

A SERIES THAT HASN’T HIT THE MARK FOR ME

As I went to write this review, I did a quick check to find out what issue is was that Damian Wayne was murdered, and was shocked to find that his death was over a YEAR ago.  While I didn’t really care for the silent post-death issue #18, there were many readers who found it very effective.  Picking up this issue to find that storyline still continuing kind of shocked me, especially given that the entire Forever Evil storyline took place in the ensuring months.  We open with an amusing sequence somewhere in the Yellow Sea, as two fishermen are surprised by the sudden eruption of a Bat-Plane from under their ice, and leap straight into action with Batman making his way to Nanda Parbat…

…or, at least, the place where Nanda Parbat used to be.  There was a whole thing over in Justice League Dark, and the city is no longer there.  Unfortunately for The Batman, there are some loose ends from that story, one of which is the presence of former JLD mainstay Frankenstein, who has a few harsh words for the man from Gotham.  I expected the usual “hero fighting hero with terse dialogue” business and Batman snarling that the immortal needs to stay out of his way.  Instead, Tomasi gives us a lovely sequence wherein Batman insists that he’s not going to fight Frankenstein, that he has realized the error in his ways and no longer wants to resurrect Damian.  “I only want to things from you, Batman” responds the angry flesh golem.  Frank wants only for Batman to apologize for tearing him to pieces to find the secret of Frank’s immortality, and one other thing: “Tell your dog to stop chewing at my leg.”

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR IN FRANKENSTEIN

I don’t know if it’s the presence of Frankenstein that has changed this book or just the story progression that Tomasi intended, but this issue is an enjoyable one.  The Caped Crusader and the The Monster Who Launched A Thousand Semantic Arguments play well off one another, and a particularly wonderful moment comes during which Batman explains that he first came to Nanda Parbat years ago to take part in a ritual that simulated death, only to find it a waste of time.  “I could have saved you seven weeks in a hole and told you that,” snarks Frankenstein, just as the Dynamic-slash-Dead Duo is ambushed by Yetis.  Doug Mahnke’s art is well-crafted as well, and his Frankenstein is excellent, with monstrous features and stitches, but still a recognizable human face in it all. The upshot of it all comes as Bats and Frankie make peace with the yetis, and make their way through into Ras Al Ghul’s stronghold, breaking into the Lazarus Pit chamber just in time for Batman to whisper, “I’m too late.”  Though we don’t see what it is that he has been too late to stop, next issue promises a battle with either Talia or Damian or both, a moment which has been a long time in the making.  Thou

THE BOTTOM LINE: A CHARMING ISSUE OVERALL

As a long-time fan of ‘The Brave And The Bold’, I’m glad that DC has a Batman team-up book in the New 52, even if it seems to be cycling through existing Batman supporting characters, and this issue tells a clever tale with some nice characterization.  Unfortunately, aside from some closure for Batman and Frankenstein (and some admittedly wonderful dry wit from the monster himself), not a whole lot happens in the issue.  I like seeing Batman trying to make peace rather than bulling through everyone else because he’s the smartest man in the room, and I get that the creators are trying to ratchet up the tension for whatever is going to happen with the Al Ghul family, but all in all, it feels a bit slight.  Batman And Frankenstein #31 makes for some nice dialogue and interaction, and has nice art, but doesn’t feel like a high-stakes issue or even an important piece of the long-ongoing tale, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  A little more integration of plot and character could have made this one a must-read.