Batman continues his quest to build an army to defend against the treacherous threat known as Leviathan. Man-of-Bats and Red Raven make their triumphant return to comic books as Leviathan attempts to create a stronghold in their hometown. A small town in South Dakota is pretty much the exact opposite of Gotham City, but crime knows no bounds and no one is safe.
This issue was fantastic. Morrison does a great job with Man-of-Bats and Red Raven. The character development for the two is done extremely well. Even though we’re not in Gotham, where the most vile of villains call home, Morrison is still able to create an enemy in this desolate town that feels evil. Chris Burnham continues to impress with his artwork. His heightened attention to detail coupled with his strong line work make for really great art. I couldn’t be more ecstatic that Burnham will be the artist for Batman Incorporated when it returns in January. 4.5/5
Captured in the middle of the ocean, Dick finds himself aboard a ship that keeps killer whales as pets. Tiger Shark, pirate and smuggler, reveals himself to be a collector of sorts as he attempts to feed Batman to the whales. Batman is able to outmaneuver the killer whales and escapes just as Tiger Shark blows up the ship. Back on solid ground, Dick meets with James Gordon Jr., per the Commissioner’s request, and during that meeting realizes something important about Sonia Zucco.
This story has been absolutely riveting from the very beginning, and continues to be in this issue. Snyder is able to write this dark and gritty story, while still being able to have Dick’s optimism and humor shine through. While I’m glad he will continue to be writing a Bat book, which I know will be great, I’m terribly sad that he will no longer be writing Dick. His run has done a great job of connecting Dick back to his youth, back to his time with the circus, and it’s been done brilliantly. Snyder knows this character and writes him perfectly. And before I go, that last page, holy smokes, Batman! 5/5
Poison Ivy makes her final plea to Harley, in the hopes that she can rescue her from Joker’s grasp. Unfortunately, Harley has no desire to be rescued. Meanwhile, Batman and Catwoman infiltrate the the prison and help regain control of the facility. Joker and Harley are the last to go down, because Joker uses his history with Batman to his advantage; however, Batman is ultimately able to overcome him.
I hope I’m not the only one that thinks this, but I am terribly saddened by the fact that this book will not be returning, especially since it is just starting to get good again. Batman and Catwoman make a great team and Calloway has a great feel for writing their interactions. More importantly, though, I love the way he contrasts their relationship with Joker and Harley’s relationship. While I’m talking about contrast, I should add that not only has Guinaldo’s art been great on this series, but the spread that had the panels shaped to form Joker and Batman’s faces was awesome. 4/5
Before I start I want to say one thing: what the hell happened to that War of the Green Lanterns event we were dealing with? The war is over (not really, I guess Geoff Johns couldn’t be bothered being on time, again) and Guy Gardner is returning to Earth for some well deserved rest. On his way back, though, he receives a mission to protect a spaceship in order to prevent a space war. On that ship, he gets seduced by a man purporting to being a woman, dies, loses his ring, comes back to life, retrieves his ring, and kicks ass.
If you were expecting something with more…substance, I guess, you won’t find it here. For the most part there’s nothing particularly wrong with this issue. It has some really awesome action scenes. Guy kicking ass? That’s always a treat. However, and that’s a big however, this book feels really strange to be coming right after an epic battle (or at least an assumed epic battle). Even though we don’t exactly know what happened at the end of the war, we can assume that since it’s called War of the Green Lanterns it has to be something big, and this issue just feels weird as a follow-up issue. 3/5
Iron Maiden is one of the deadliest villains around, having personally killed 4,819 people (and that was back in the 80s). Her daughter, Colleen, is no slouch either, though. Colleen is trying to get to her mother, presumably to kill her, and she doesn’t have a problem killing anyone who stands in her way. Seeing her take out those trained guards makes it clear that she’s not just the behind the scenes type of gal. Throughout the story we get flashbacks to when the Iron Maiden was captured in the 80s along with her husband Dynamo and his attempts getting her freed.
This book is absolutely fantastic. Nick Spencer does an amazing job of this issue on two fronts. First, he takes Colleen, who up until this moment hadn’t been involved in much of the action, and creates this totally awesome, assassin-like badass female. I thought she was interesting before, and now she’s ten times as interesting. Second, he does a brilliant job working in the 80s sequence, as well as writing the Silver Age backup story. Spencer has the uncanny ability of molding his writing to perfectly suit the time period he is writing. Panosian fills in for the present day portion of this issue and his art works well with the quick paced, action packed scenes, while Grell and Dragotta knock it out of the park with their beautiful art for the 80s and 60s, respectively. Word on the street, or in this case the internet, is that this series will be returning post reboot, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the news. 5/5
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