Rating: *** 1/2*
A great issue by Judd Winick to close out his run on Batman. One of the problems I had with Judd’s first run on Batman was the inconsistency. He would write a very good issue of Batman and then a very bad one. In this short run, he started off with a great issue; followed by some mediocre ones and then this great issue.
We pick up where we left off with Dick Grayson as Batman returning to the Batcave after the alarms went off. He finds out that the intruder is none other than Two-Face himself and he’s now at his mercy. Two-Face has pumped Batman with some drugs and he’s hallucinating. He sees Two-Face in some weird Batman-like costume, but it turns out to be all in his head.
Rating: ** 1/2*
After a great first issue, this storyline continues to go downhill. When we last left Batman, Dick was cornered by Clayface and an unknown ex-army guy, who were hired by the Black Mask to help the Penguin. The army guy is given a name in this issue and it’s Lyle Blanco. Blanco is a serial killer whose spent time in Arkham Asylum. Our issue opens with Clayface and Blanco battling Batman. I didn’t like the way Judd Winick had been writing Dick as Batman. I felt that he portrayed Dick is kind of wimpy and unsure of himself, but I liked the way he portrayed Dick here in this fight with Blanco and Clayface. He was confident and sure of his abilities that he could take these guys down. This is the way Batman should be. Kicking butt.
We see also in this issue Two-Face recruiting a young girl who can perform magic whom he looks to recruit in his efforts to find out more about the new Batman. He shows her a batarang that he was able to get his hands on and asks her if she can use it to find out where it comes from. Sort of use it as a tracer to locate the new Batman’s hideout.
Rating: ** 1/2*
Judd Winick’s run on Batman continues. In the last issue, we saw that Two-Face has realized that the current Batman battling in the streets of Gotham is not the same Batman that he’s faced over the years. This Batman likes to smile, which is something the previous Batman was not fond of doing. In this issue, the battle to be the number one crime boss continues. Two-Face is feeding the new Batman intel on the Penguin’s operations; the issue opens with Batman taking out a secret Penguin casino.
The Penguin is obviously not happy as we see him complain to a mysterious figure. I think the person is the Black Mask, but I’m not 100% sure. The Penguin decides he needs help in taking on the Batman. To help him with this problem, the mysterious figure has some muscle for the Penguin in the shape of genetically-enhanced soldier.
Batman continues his patrol in Gotham when the soldier attacks Batman (with some help from Clayface). We end there.
I wanted to mention one other scene that I thought was very touching with Dick Grayson and Alfred. Alfred talks about how his role was to stand in Bruce’s shadow and be his aid in the fight against crime. He wasn’t sure he could do it without Bruce, but he feels Dick makes it easier since he is a person closer to the “light” than Bruce. Alfred talks to Dick about how before the darkness came for Bruce on that night, Bruce was a very good artist when he was a little, but all that changed after his parents’ deaths. We see a flashback to a young Bruce drawing. I would love to see DC follow-up on this little detail and make it a part of the Batman mythos. Sherlock Holmes used to play the violin for relaxation—maybe when Bruce returns he could draw for relaxation.
Rating: ** !/2*
This month’s issue of Batman is not as good as the previous issue. I can’t put my finger on why that is, but I was left kind of with a whatever attitude after I read this story, where I was pumped after I finished reading Batman and Robin last week. I think maybe the reason I felt this way was because of the way Judd Winick wrote the character of Dick Grayson. He seemed weak. I still don’t feel like he’s confident that he can do the job when he’s been fighting crime all his life. I know DC wants him to portray him as if he’s not worthy, but he is worthy - more than worthy. Which is why I was a bit upset by two scenes in this particular issue.
One scene is the opening scene where we see Dick dressed as Batman fighting an unknown assailant in the Bat-Cave three weeks from now. The assailant knows he’s not the real Batman and is telling him so as he kicks the crap out of him. Dick lays defeated at the foot of his mentor’s cowl encased in glass with the assailant ready for the kill. This scene screams you’re a loser and a pretender. The second scene is comical, but again it seems like what we have here in Dick is a pretender to the throne. Dick is talking to Alfred about the cape and cowl and how he can’t see and the cape is too heavy to move around. I know that DC wanted to change the dynamic of Batman and Robin and have Robin be the dark figure while Batman is more light hearted, but it doesn’t seem to work here in this issue, where it’s been portrayed well over in Batman and Robin.
We’ve seen in the previous issue as well as in the Battle for the Cowl mini-series that the Penguin and Two-Face are both trying to take over the Gotham City underworld. On a side note, I wonder what happened to the Black Mask. Wasn’t he supposed to be involved as well? Maybe he’ll show up later. Anyway, Dick Grayson as Batman stops one of the Penguin’s shipments and is caught on camera. Two-Face notices something is different about Batman. He finds it interesting that the Batman would even allow himself to get on camera in the first place. After watching the footage Two-Face says to his cohort that the man in the Batman costume is not Batman.
This month’s issue of “Detective Comics” continues the post-Batman: RIP storyline; a “Last Rites” tie-in entitled “Last Days of Gotham”. It’s part one of a two part story which features the return of Batman veteran writer/editor: Denny O’Neil.
It’s funny in my blog on “Batman” #682, I hoped that the return of Denny O’Neil would mean the return of a Batman story that was much more easy to follow than Grant Morrison’s stuff, but O’Neil’s story is a little bit confusing as well.
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