Wow. Small week for Batman lovers. But sometimes that’s okay. No more news on the TV, video game, or movie front, so we’ll jump right into the best part of the character: the comics. Here are my reviews for this week. And if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that I’ve branched out of the New 52 realm for a special bonus review from AMC’s Comic Book Men and Hollywood’s very own, Kevin Smith.
Batman Eternal #9
This is the very definition of a “throwaway” issue, meaning that it basically serves no purpose whatsoever. That being said, the artwork of Guillem March is amazing, as per usual, but even his excellent dynamics cannot save the poorly paced story by John Layman, with the assist from teammates (and better suited writers) Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, and Tim Seeley. The new Commissioner gets put in his place by his employer, Carmine Falcone, as we hear about his grudge with Catwoman. Same story, different verse. Then we see Batman teaming up with the lamest member of Batman Incorporated in Hong Kong and meeting a mysterious new woman as he finds out that Falcone gave up his gang war there to focus on his return to Gotham. As Catwoman and Falcone have another showdown (where she is bested because, you know, he’s the bad guy), Batman informs Alfred that they will be having a guest when he returns, none other than the mysterious woman he met in Hong Kong: Julia Pennyworth. Color me curious, and the artwork is perfect, but Layman’s dialogue is atrocious. Only one more issue of him left.
My Rating: 3/5
Justice League 3000 #7
Talk about a much-needed breath of fresh air. It’s no secret that I’ve been pretty critical of this series. But mainly it’s because I usually love the writing style of J. M. DeMatteis and Howard Porter is one of my favorite artists and I feel like this series just didn’t have any soul… until this issue, that is. We’ve finally reached the point in the story where I am starting to root for the League, and they could use all the encouragement and help they could get. As our heroes plan their escape, they are halted by a sudden (and brutal) betrayal from one of the “Wonder Twins,” as Terry kills not only his sister, but the Flash, telling the team to get back to base as soon as they can so he can continue his evil plots. He’s a great villain, something that both Keith Giffen and DeMatteis have lots of practice writing dialogue for. I think it’s safe to say that the new League is starting to feel a little more at home in their collective skins, and though this isn’t quite the book that I thought it was going to be, I have to admit, with the twists and turns in this issue, it’s certainly starting to grow on me. Good work, guys. Keep it up and I know you can make it onto my top books in no time. You’re headed in the right direction for the first time since the series first launched.
My Rating: 4/5
Earth 2 #24
The surprise smash hit of the New 52′s second wave continues to be the crown jewel in alternate earth stories in all of comicdom. Writer Tom Taylor has proven that he is every bit of an excellent writer as James Robinson and has proven the correct person for his heir apparent. And Nicola Scott’s artwork is a true international treasure. The Flash is being tortured by the terrifying Beguiler, only to be saved by Hawkgirl and the soon-to-be leader of the “Justice Society,” Green Lantern. But the characterization is really the key to this issue, which may come as a shock because the visuals are so beautiful and action-packed. The scene with Thomas Wayne and Jimmy Olsen is heart-breaking and inspiring. Just think of how amazing they would be as the new dynamic duo? I really hope that happens. But another great scene with Jimmy is where he finally learns the “secret” that Val is hiding and why Batman is so angry with him for being non-violent. He’s Superman. Wait… What? I think Jimmy’s words sum it up nicely: “Well… Holy crap.” Buy this book. You’d be a fool not to. This is by far my pick of the week.
My Rating: 5/5
The finale to the first epic Luke Fox storyline is nothing short of incredible. I was saddened to hear that this series will be ending, but hopeful that it means bigger and better things for Luke and his excellent cast of supporting characters. The super disturbing interpretation of the Ratcatcher starts us off with a chase between him and Luke’s little sister, wherein she is rescued by her big brother, whom she does not trust until he unmasks. Then there’s a great scene of fatherly love and regret as Lucius awaits word on his missing daughter, only to be relieved (and quite literally woken up from a nightmare) when he hears that she’s been saved and, upon arriving at the hospital, that she is okay. We then get a powerful scene where Luke visits the church and has a little bit of a monologue about faith and religion, which is a tough subject for any writer, especially on a superhero book. But that is the greatest strength of this title. The artwork of Eduardo Pansica is full of realistic and dynamic portraits, but the writing of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray is absolutely perfect. Seeing Batwing hold his own with Batman at the very end of this issue proves that this is a series that everyone should be reading. It’s human, it’s believable, and above all else, it’s important. Pick up a copy. You won’t regret it.
My Rating: 5/5
Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #1
Writers Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman team up with artist Ty Templeton to bring us somewhat of a conundrum when it comes to the tumultuous world of comic books. This is the very definition of a potential disaster, teaming DC Comics with Dynamite Entertainment. Both have very loyal, but very different followers. Then there’s the Batman ’66 angle, which is a love-hate gem for all of Bat fandom. And then the final touch: Controversial writer Kevin Smith helming a project with the help of equally controversial cover artist Alex Ross. But what follows is something completely unique, altogether different, but simultaneously, well, fresh and fun. The antics are wacky, the stakes are high (but never really too high), and the first meeting between Batman and Robin and the Green Hornet and Kato is saved for the finale, but if this issue does one thing, it’s this: It makes me want issues two, three, four, five, and six to come out as soon as humanly possible. Congrats, guys. You have officially made me feel like a child again. And that’s the highest form of compliment out there for such a serious, dark, and gritty medium. Well done.
My Rating: 5/5
So there you have it. What did you think of this week’s Bat books? Let me know in the comments section below. See you next Baturday, everyone! And, in the tradition of Batman ’66, I’ll go ahead and close with the classic lines: “Same Bat Time… Same Bat Channel!”