When it comes to comics, I feel I’m in the minority when I say that I rank the art at the same level as I rank the story. 50/50. In most cases I feel people forgive poorly illustrated books as long as there is a strong story more often than they forgive a poorly scripted book with brilliant art. I say all this, because this is a particularly well done, fantastically illustrated issue. The story? Brilliant. No doubt about it, this is some of Scott Snyder’s best work. But then again, I haven’t read anything of his that would be considered “B” grade or below. In just five issues Snyder has taken one of the most confident, domineering, strong heroes, and he’s cracking him, tearing him up piece by piece. And this isn’t a story that feels clunky or rushed. The entire series so far has been well paced, well written, it feels organic. Reading this title, you can read Batman’s breakdown. That’s where the brilliance of this art team comes in. Where you can only read Batman’s breakdown with Snyder’s words, you can see it with the art. The words literally come to life with Greg Capullo’s pencils, accompanied by Glapion’s inks and FCO’s colors. What you see in this book is something that is really only effective in comic books. The tension built by rotating the pages, the ominous presence of the Court of Owls, even the simple pages of Batman walking over the miniature Gotham are remarkable. The way his cape flows and is engulfed, and becomes part of, the shadows is something that is very classic, yet modern, with relation to Batman’s history. This book is absolutely amazing. Will everyone feel the same? Of course not. But coming from a literary standpoint, and with an art background, I think this issue was perfect. 5/5
The retcons continue as the Bat-Universe is unable to escape the greedy claws of DC’s reboot. A little known fact about our title heroine is that at one point in time Catwoman got pregnant and had a child named Helena. The child was put up for adoption and kept safe, and unless I read the wording of this issue wrong, she’s now so safe she doesn’t exist. That annoyance aside, this issue was fantastic. It did a great job of showcasing just what a strong woman Selina is, both mentally and physically, albeit a tad reckless with her actions. We start off the issue with Catwoman free falling from the sky, after having been blasted into the air by “Reach” last issue. With a bit of smart thinking and excellent timing, she’s able to survive the fall. Unfortunately, Reach is still around and Catwoman’s dislocated her shoulder, amongst other injuries. Being cool under pressure, and being a kick ass hand to hand fighter, easily allows her to overpower Reach and escape with her loot. Except her loot turns out to be a couple of dirty cops’ loot, and boy are they pissed. This is easily the best issue of the series so far. We get a strong protagonist, who like anyone has moments of weakness, but at the end of the day is able to defend herself. The cliffhanger has her trapped, so it will be exciting for her to get out of that mess. 4/5
When you talk about comics as much as I do, you hear a lot of opinions. People like this character, or people like that character, some people love events, some people hate events. One thing I’ve heard quite often is that some people don’t like long arcs, stories that span over four or fives issues. But then you give them an issue that is slightly related to the overall story, but otherwise a one-shot, and you’ve offended them. That’s the thing about comics; you can do so many different things and some people will always disagree. I for one thoroughly enjoyed myself reading this issue. The story about Saiko and the Haly Circus makes a brief but important appearance, but for the most part this issue is about Nightwing helping out a friend who is in way over his head dealing with a crazy ex. Unfortunately, in this case, crazy ex equals powerful rhyming demon. Pardon the interruption, but I must say that I love a good rhyme and I think Higgins did a great job with the rhyming, keeping it from becoming corny. After Nightwing does his heroic bit, the book ends with one of the most shocking cliffhangers I’ve seen yet. 4/5
With every issue this series gets better. There, I said it. If for some odd reason you’re avoiding this series, in the previous issues Jason Todd has predominantly held the spotlight, while Kori has proven time after time why her power set makes her the perfect addition to the team. Roy, on the other hand, hasn’t had the opportunity to shine, until now. With the Red Hood MIA and Starfire temporarily weakened, Roy takes the lead and protects Kori from Crux, the green, winged freak who hates her people. Not only do we get to see Roy kick some ass, which Red Hood does as well, but we get to see a more emotional side to the character that hasn’t always been present. Little by little these characters are being fleshed out, giving them depth and making them more interesting. What I’ve also consistently found good about this series is that it isn’t afraid to instill a bit of humor, regardless of the situation. In this particular issue, the villagers chasing after our group of heroes sticks out in my mind. Whether or not it was meant to be humorous, I couldn’t stop laughing seeing them with their tractors and pitchforks. 4/5
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