Hands down the creepiest and best written issue by Snyder so far. The spotlight is all on Gordon in this issue, starting with his desire to close the book on the “Peter Pan Killer.” The story follows Gordon as he tries to arrest a child murderer he first encountered while he was a young cop years ago. As the story flashes back to that time, we are given a look at a boy James Gordon Jr., Gordon’s son. Little things, from a dead bird, to dressing up as the Joker, to implying Barbara’s friend might die soon, begin to reveal the boy’s history that has led to Gordon and Barbara’s perception and suspicion of Gordon Jr. When Barbara’s friend turns up dead, she is convinced that her brother killed her, and though there’s no evidence of it, Gordon clearly thinks the same. In the present day Gordon catches the “Peter Pan Killer,” who reveals that he had intended to kill Gordon Jr. the night Barbara’s friend died, leaving us all, including Gordon, questioning whether he was Barbara’s friend’s killer.
Snyder paints a grim picture in depicting James Jr., daring us to perceive the boy as being a psychopath and then backing off as if to say, hold that thought. From the very beginning of this issue the reader is put on edge with the appearance of a serial child murderer. As the issue progresses, the creep factor intensifies in the most satisfying ways. The mystery and the intrigue of it all keeps you, the reader, constantly on your toes hoping to find a clue or a hidden truth that will reveal everything. Francavilla does an excellent job of translating Snyder’s words into art. His style is perfectly suited to mimic and accentuate the eerie tone of the story. This is one of the best Batman books out right now, and is a must read for anyone who believes themselves to be even the slightest fan. 5/5
Harley’s dangerous quest to kill Joker continues in this issue. Having used three specific items in the previous issue to get past three key individuals, Harley was left with one item: a rusted nail. It turns out that years ago the nail was used to kill the security guard’s child. This knowledge persuades him into allowing Harley to get to Joker, however once she reaches him, her memories overwhelm her. Meanwhile, on a rooftop miles away, Ivy and Catwoman get into an argument over saving Harley and making an appearance elsewhere.
As I was reading this I was actually quite pleased with the entire progression of the story. I loved the idea of these characters having one specific object that would be their undoing. I especially loved the way Guinaldo handled the flashback scenarios, manipulating the story into the shape of the object. However, once Harley reaches Joker is where this issue starts to go downhill. While I think it would be totally rad and completely justified for Harley to kill Joker, he’s too high profile of a villain to be killed, ever, I imagine. That being said, I knew I wouldn’t be reading Harley kill Joker, but what we got instead was unsatisfying. Also, with as many times that Catwoman has saved Ivy’s life in this series, what could Ivy possibly still have against Selina? 3/5
The issue starts off where we last left it, amidst the battle in the forest. The demon Etrigan, who has now been separated from his host Jason Blood, battles our hero and his allies in the hopes of destroying the forest. He is aided in his endeavor by the appearance of monstrous large insects. Meanwhile, we learn the true story behind Galahad’s emotional history, as well as his ties to the Arthurian mythology. He breaks out of the tree that had been holding him, and joins the battle against not only Etrigan, but the evil deep in the depths of the forest.
I thought that this issue was great. This arc has had a lot of great action, steady pacing, and a fairly strong story. Galahad has been a interesting character from the moment he arrived, so it’s nice to finally get some more background information on the guy. I get the feeling that this series still has a part to play in Brightest Day, and I think that still remains a handicap to Krul’s story. The art by Neves has never looked better, in my opinion. The consistency throughout the book is apparent, and the overall quality of art is great in this issue. 3.5/5
The third part of the War of Green Lanterns arrives with the forewarned fight between Guy and Hal. The issue starts off with Guy, Arisia, and Kilowog returning home after their battle against Zardor, when out of nowhere the effects of Parallax taking residence in the Green Lantern battery hit Arisia. Before Guy and Kilowog, who are not affected, can react, they are swarmed by a hoard of corrupted green lanterns. Kilowog sends Guy to safety, being captured. Guy attempts to contact anyone and everyone else, and is able to reach Hal. When the two get together, their secrets are revealed as civil conversation quickly elevates to a fistfight. The two continue fighting over which of them is the best, when they realize that the ring is what is influencing their thoughts.
Overall I thought that this issue was decent. The fight between Guy and Hal was entertaining enough, however it didn’t end up feeling as important as it was led up to sound. Kyle and John’s fight in the previous issue was arguably the better of the two fights. Also, not a lot actually happened in this issue. The entire issue could probably be summed up by saying Kilowog sacrificed himself to save Guy, who fought with Hal until both of their rings powered down. 3.5/5
JT Krul’s second arc starts here, or a couple hundred miles from here. Red Robin rejoins the Teen Titans as they make their way to Pakistan, answering a missing persons report. Cassie’s mom called for help when two archaeologists, who happen to be the parents of the future Teen Titan, “Solstice,” disappear. The team breaks up into groups before they are attacked by a hideous creature. The hideous monster manhandles the entire time team. The creature then teleports away, taking both Cassie and her mom.
I thought that this issue was decent. The story behind the girl and her parents is an interesting one. Her diverse background is a welcomed change from what is considered to be the norm in DC. The issue itself serves also as a jumping on point for new readers. The art, by Nicola Scott, looks great in some pages and spreads, but not so great in others. Specifically, Scott depicts Cassie in a very masculine, older depiction that does the character a disservice. 3/5
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