Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Comic Book Reviews: Night of the Owls Part 6: Batman:The Dark Knight #9 and All-Star Western #9

The Night of the Owls crossover event is nearly at its conclusion, as the 10th and 11th entries came out on the fourth Wednesday of this month.

Before I get into them, I want to let everyone know how next week's releases will go. I will review the Batman Annual - the final May installment of NOTO - and then, I will rank all of the entries in the crossover from 1 to 10.

Yes, I know there are 12. However, I won't include the annual because it has the advantage of being longer and (from the sounds of it) doubling as a Mr. Freeze story. I also won't include All-Star Western for reasons that I will explain in its review.

So let's get to it!

All-Star Western #9

This is the first review of a non-Bat Book I've done in the DC Universe, and boy do I hope the rest aren't like this!

The actual storylines aren't terrible. Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham stage a sting on a gang called the "August 7" and are helped by 19th century heroes Nighthawk and Cinnamon. I like how Nighthawk reminded me a lot of Nightwing, but they were simply passable.

Tallulah Black makes a return during a land discussion, weeks after Hex stops a Talon from hunting down a man.

My biggest gripe is that unless the Talon is going to remain a part of this arc, she had no use whatsoever in this story. It could have just as easily been any other assassin.. So the big reason I wanted the book was not even that big of a deal.

The art was OK, but it was not a style I enjoy. Moreover, the women here seemed to be dressed suggestively and tied up simply to get some T&A and S&M excitement.

Cinnamon and Nighthawk had a pretty fun backup story, but the art wasn't fun to look at and it didn't add value to the book.

I'm sure plenty of people like this book and find entertainment in it. I am not one of those people. For $2.99 if I buy expecting owls, I'd better see a good deal of owls.

This will count as my Wild Card coverage of this book because much like the Jonah Hex movie, I don't like this character, I don't care about this character, and I really got no enjoyment in his story.

Batman: The Dark Knight #9

Well if it isn't our old friend TDK!

Speaking of false advertising, I've been hearing about Red Robin's presence in this book for weeks, and he's even the focus of the cover! So imagine my surprise when he is in all of ONE panel and gets no dialogue.

Thankfully, what this book failed to live up to on the Red Robin end, it more than made up for on the Talon end. They also mentioned the Talon's point of view dominating the story, and that is accurate.

I will say that I actually got emotionally behind this guy. He was the second-to-most-recent Talon, as Dick Grayson has been found and Batman interrupts his last mission.

As such, this Talon had an interesting dynamic going where he actually did fear Batman, and he wasn't as strong as his other brethren because he had just recently been revived.

It was a nice touch being able to see the fight for Lincoln March's life from Batman #9 from the point of view of the Talon. Even if it didn't have Red Robin.

I'll give Judd Winick his due: With this being his last issue, he did a great job with it, even if I do believe the whole fear motif for the Talon was a little forced to lead into the upcoming Scarecrow arc.

Overall, I'll say this was a really nice tie-in. It did something unique by changing the point of view while also getting me excited to see the Night of the Owls arc conclude in the next three issues of Batman.

Before I finish, I do want to mention that Grant Morrison's Batman Inc. Volume 2 #1 came out as well. I will be reviewing it as the Wild Card next month, once I switch back to the original format I set.

I haven't read a great deal of Grant's work, and with the New 52 being instituted, even if I did there would be changes. For those who need background, IGN did a great guide to the world of Morrison and his "Batgod" persona for the Dark Knight.

I'll probably also buy "Leviathan Strikes!" and read reviews of Volume 1's issues to sort out what I missed, so hopefully it will make sense. If not, I have enough awesome Bat titles to keep me satisfied!

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