In the world of
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Damn DC to what
they’re doing with the Bat-books! Editor Bob Schreck and company have
assembled a core of books that’s bringing me, and a lot of other fans,
back into the Bat-fold.
really been an avid Batman reader since the pre-crisis days no matter what
‘event’ stories they came up with. During the ‘No Man’s Land’
storyline I picked up some of the stories written by the likes of Bob Gale
and Greg Rucka, but I was still determined to stop reading after the
gimmick was over. Alas, it wasn’t to be.
I started picking up
‘Nightwing’ since the character was featured prominently in the NML
storyline and found Dixon to be at his usual top form writing everyone’s
favorite ex-Robin, Dick Grayson. Rucka commented on how Dixon is ‘a
master at getting the reader to turn the page’ and he’s right.
Then there’s Devin
Grayson, at the top of her game over in ‘Gotham Knights’. She recently
brought back one of the best Batman adversaries of all time in Hugo
Strange and her stories get better with each issue.
Finally, Greg Rucka
is given Detective Comics to write and there was no way I could avoid that
book. I already reviewed Detective, but the work of Rucka and artist
Martinbrough warrants mentioning again. It’s the best damn Batman book
and one of the best comics on the market today.
I was able to avoid
the transformation to complete Bat-Zombie by not getting ‘Batman’.
Larry Hama has been one of my favorite writers, ever since I began reading
‘GI: Joe’ as a kid. But there was something about his run on
‘Batman’ that didn’t click for me. It seemed like the stories were
more goofy, super-heroey related than the cerebral works of the other
books and I wasn’t interested enough in Batman as a character to go that
So in comes Ed
Brubaker. Scott McDaniel gained fan popularity penciling Dixon’s
Nightwing, but switched over to ‘Batman’ after the revamp. McDaniel
stayed aboard when Brubaker arrived and it’s been a very good match so
far. Brubaker wrote the fantastic ‘Scene of the Crime’ mini-series a
couple years back and the attention that book received propelled Ed into
his ongoing ‘Deadenders’ book for Vertigo/DC. DC recently released a
trade paper back of ‘Deadenders’, which collects the first arc of the
story. It’s one of the most unique of Vertigo titles and really deserves
more attention than its been getting recently.
The first story
under the new regime was ‘Fearless’, a two parter featuring an old
friend of Bruce Wayne’s, Jeremy Samuels, who’s gotten himself into the
type of trouble that calls for Batman’s assistant. It also introduces a
villain who is fairly forgettable, but one that we’ll apparently see
more of in the future.
from McDaniel’s impressive pencils, Brubaker’s dialogue is the
book’s strong suit. I also really like how he incorporates Robin into
the story. With the responsibilities of having his own book, Robin really
hasn’t had too much to do in recent Batman stories and when he does show
up it’s like he really isn’t there anyway. Robin makes a couple brief
appearances in the ‘Fearless’ storyline and already we get some layers
added to the Batman/Robin dimension that’s been sorely missing for
‘The Dark Knight
Project’ was a very enjoyable tale. The premise of the story is that a
group of kids come to Gotham City to investigate the urban myth that is
Batman. I had to suspend my disbelief a bit with this one and just go with
the story. Given all the situations Batman has been in over the years and
his involvement with various groups such as the Justice League and the
Outsiders, it was hard to accept the fact that there’s still a question
as to whether he exists or not. After ‘letting that go’, it was fun to
read the various people in Batman’s life come up with excuses as to why
Batman was a myth and nothing more. The concept was a bit hard to swallow,
but the dialogue and great art redeem the issue.
We’re only four
issues into Ed Brubaker’s run on the title, but he’s already made an
impression on me. He’s given the Bat back his attitude and added little
elements here and there that really give the title and the character a new
dimension. I’ve always found one of Brubaker’s greatest strengths to
be his ‘real life’ dialogue and having it on this particular title
makes it a much more enjoyable read.
He is also set to write ‘Catwoman’ in the near future, so it
looks like I’ll be getting myself into the Batman universe even deeper.
If the book has the same quality as Ed’s work on ‘Deadenders’ and
‘Batman’, I don’t think I’ll regret it, either.
Batman is available
monthly from DC Comics.
Copyright©2000 GrayHavenMagazine and contributors