Welcome back to everyone’s favorite day of the week: Baturday! Hope you all have had a chance to get down to your favorite local comic shop and enjoy Free Comic Book Day. If not, don’t worry… There’s always next year. But in the mean time, sit back, relax, and read some spoiler-tastic reviews of your favorite Bat books.
Batman Eternal #4
It had to happen. A weak spot in a weekly comic series run. I’m just hoping that it’s out of the way now. This issue is just rehashing old stories and features some of the worst dialogue in recent Batman history between Batman and Batgirl as they have their obligatory, forced, and somewhat awkward fight Luckily, Dustin Nguyen’s wonderful artwork is enough to save us from yet another John Layman atrocity. Man am I glad he’s been fired. The guy sucks. Even greats like Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, and Tim Seeley as consultants and plotters can’t prevent such clunky interactions. It’s almost as if he’s never talked to another human being in his life before. Stephanie Brown’s mother being also evil was a nice twist, Batman’s confrontation with the Roman was altogether pointless, and Gordon being placed in the worst possible scenario of his entire career are all interesting setups. But even the art of Nguyen isn’t enough to convey what should have been a gut-wrenching “oh, crap!” scene at the end. Layman botches the dialogue between Agatha and Gordon, ruining what could have been a great emotional scene with Gordon entering a cage with all of the scum he’s spent his entire career locking up. I’m sure next week will be better. It certainly can’t be worse.
My Rating: 2.5/5
Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman VS Bane #1
Peter J. Tomasi and Scot Eaton offer up the finale we all wanted in issue six of Forever Evil: Arkham War. And it’s epic, grand, and wonderful. The final dialogue sequence between the soon-to-be imprisoned Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne is every bit as powerful as the conclusion to epics like No Man’s Land and Officer Down. Tomasi gets characterization. Possibly more so than any other current Batman writer. For my full review of this excellent one-shot (which, I might add, can be enjoyed almost as much as a one-shot as a final issue of a cliffhanger ending of an event-within-an-event miniseries), click here. It’s great. Pick up the issue if you’re a Batman fan, a Forever Evil follower, a DC completionist, or just a fan of good superhero action romps with poignant dialogue-heavy endings. You won’t be disappointed.
My Rating: 5/5
Batwoman Annual #1
What an issue! Taking place somewhat in the past, this annual (the first of the series) takes our title hero through a whirlwind of emotions, action, twists, and turns. And she is guided expertly by new series writer Marc Andreyko and artists Trevor McCarthy and Moritat. We get the finale to a story we’ve been waiting for since the beginning of the series. And it’s safe to say that though the way the last creative team left the book was, shall we say, less than on good terms, this new one is fully capable. If not slightly better. Director Bones reveals that he is using his position as head of the D. E. O. to track down his father, Jacob Kane, and get his revenge upon him through his daughters, Alice and Batwoman. But with Batman, Agent Chase, and Bette involved, his plan backfires and he ends up losing a Mexican standoff with Asaf, an opportunistic rogue member of the team. By shooting Bones and causing most likely permanent brain damage, it never really will be proven if his words are true or not, but at a Congressional hearing at the end, Asaf, taking over the D. E. O., wraps a nice bow on it saying that he was delusional and also incorrect. But we’ll just have to “take his word for it” for the time being, setting him up as a new potential cast member. Chase becomes a private eye. Father and daughter go to rehab. And Batwoman finally goes on patrol with Batman. All in all, this is a great comic. A perfect comic. All wrapped up with just the right amount of everything for everyone. Well done, team. This is, by far, my pick of the week.
My Rating: 5/5
Batgirl Annual #2
Confession time: I dropped Batgirl after Villains Month. Just wasn’t feeling it anymore. But a few issues by Marguerite Bennett drug me back and made me realize that I needed a little more Babs in my life. And to be completely fair, writer Gail Simone has won me over yet again with this annual. The art team of Robert Gill and Javier Garron were new to me as of this reading, but they are now two on my list of people to follow in the industry. At its core, it is an elongated character study of both Batgirl and Poison Ivy. Taking place over the course of what feels like years, we follow them through a Birds of Prey team-up, a falling out, and several back-and-forth run-ins all in search of the same man. And although there was one scene that made me audibly roll my eyes and groan (Poison Ice? Really?), it wasn’t enough to hurt the overall experience. The dialogue was sharp. The visuals were engaging. And if this is the sign of things to come for Barbara, consider Batgirl back on my pull list. By no means is this a perfect issue, but it reminded me of all the things I used to like about Gail Simone when she was working on Birds of Prey and Secret Six. Hopefully she can keep me as a fan.
My Rating: 3.5/5
And Out Today, Free Comic Book Day… The New 52: Futures End #0
So there you have it. Another week, another battle. What did you think of this week’s Bat titles? Agree? Disagree? Feel free to join me in the comments section below and see you next week!