Friday, March 16, 2012

Comic Book Reviews: Batman & Robin #7, Batgirl #7, and Batwing #7

I don't think I've ever been so happy to expand past Bruce Wayne.

My wild card picks each month so far have been lackluster and involve books that have gone completely off the deep end.

Batman: The Dark Knight is without a doubt the 'C' title in the trio of Batman solo books. I'll be giving my full thoughts on this title later this weekend. Long story short, I am VERY happy the writer is being switched out by issue 11; I am VERY unhappy this title is now going to be a part of "Night of the Owls;" but I am VERY grateful that it will not affect the main plot.

Meanwhile, Detective Comics, while being the namesake title of the whole freaking company, is also a definitive "B" brand right now in terms of storyline. This arc has turned into a deranged action film plot and I am left re-reading the book in the stores - not for enjoyment or depth, but to try to figure out what the hell is happening.

Anyway, with Bruce's titles all reviewed now, I can expand to the rest of the Bat-verse and then the rest of DC. But first, on to this month's reviews!

Batman and Robin #7

This arc comes effectively to its climax here (though the ending appears to open up a potential one-shot epilogue, if not a whole new arc).

I was impressed by the fight sequences as well as the pure psychology going on between Batman and NoBody as they fought. Damian has proven himself to be a worthy Robin as well.

I am still totally serious when I say that this arc should be mailed in as the basics to a movie script because this could be one of the few ways in which a Batman movie with Robin could work and not look like a campy display of homo-erotica. (Looking at you, Joel Schumacher.)

The art here was amazing and the two-page spread of Batman's mole vehicle coming right up in between Robin and NoBody was just awesome. I also was impressed by the detail in the final full-page spread and its surprising end for the book.

I am definitely hooked on this one and can't wait to see how this bleeds into NOTO.

Batgirl #7

Thankfully, I've learned to read Batgirl first because I would have hated if a book this good looked disappointing because of B&R. Make no mistakes: I don't consider this the equal of B&R, but this issue may have been the best of the title so far and appears to be moving into that elite class.

Barbara Gordon is telling this story in flashback, as the story starts at the end of her fight. From there, we see her spar with the Black Canary, who knocks her head on straight after Barbara goes back into depression mode.

In a side plot, Commissioner Gordon and his former wife finally meet for the first time since she was re-introduced, and though the reveals are still coming at a snail's pace, it's at least going somewhere and you can feel some authentic emotion from Jim.

The art had its moments. It wasn't epic, but every panel was serviceable and there were absolutely some amazingly drawn fight scenes.

Lastly, the flashbacks to "The Killing Joke" were used tastefully and the details of that night really help make the reveal at the end of the issue that much more sweet.

Batwing #7

OK, so for those who don't know, Batwing was introduced as the African representative for Batman, Inc. His real name is David Zavimbe, and he is a cop during the day.

I purchased the first issue a while back and the character seemed solid, so I've definitely been keeping track. I have been greatly enjoying these first seven issues and how they have developed.

That said, this book needs more Africa.

What made the first few issues great is that as the world of Batwing was introduced, you saw glimpses at a whole new plane of fighting crime besides Gotham.

Most of the African scenes here are in flashback while Batwing is flying around with Batman. Nightwing, Batgirl and Robin all make cameos, and it appears even an African cop must return to the mothership.

Don't get me wrong. I liked the story and the backstory on Africa's former heroes, The Kingdom was certainly interesting. Plus, hearing Bruce act as a mentor to the new hero, telling him to only use the past as a reference for knowledge, was gripping.

Problem was, the action scenes in the present looked weak by comparison and Nightwing and Robin got A LOT of dialogue for a book neither really needs to be in.

This book isn't getting out of here without a recommendation, but I'd highly recommend you also try to find some of the older issues - not just for backstory, but because they were much stronger across the board as well.

That's all for this week's reviews. See you next week!

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