I have good news: issue #4 marks the first time in this series that I have not needed to take a break. No break at all! I read it the whole way through. Typically I find myself questioning my sanity or contemplating suicide halfway through a Batman: Odyssey, but not here. You could chalk it up to me getting used to this ridiculous world in which characters appear and behave randomly, mundane thoughts are written out in lengthy speech bubbles, and dialogue consists of one character rambling like a madman or a tween girl while the other character gives an exaggerated expression and reacts, well, like this:
But I actually had a couple moments in this issue where I chuckled at moments that were intended to be funny and had a little fun with it. The only problem is that these scenes only involved Deadman. The actual Batman segments of this Batman comic make me want to blow my brains out.
Still, there are some folks who enjoy this comic. It is after all, like nothing else on the shelves right now and absolutely nothing like any other Batman book. That’s because it’s Batman in name only. If you just want to see something absolutely crazy with as many bizarre characters and creatures as possible mingling together, then you’re probably going to get a kick out of this book. I’ll let Sylvain Poitras, a commenter on the Batman: Odyssey Vol.2 Issue #2 review explain what he enjoys about the Odyssey:
That’s precisely why I enjoy this book. It’s like nothing else out there… seriously, if you read this book thinking you’re about to read a normal Batman book, you will be disappointed and will feel ripped-off… for a completely different take on this book, read this: http://www.comicsalliance.com/… There’s a lot to appreciate in this book (have a look at the Passion of the Batman (link above), where Batman is shot up and shows us his dance moves… this is not bad art, unusual art for Batman, but very expressive and artful). The over-expressions are great, as far as I’m concerned… half the artist working on batman books can only draw that stoic batman face we all like… this is something else, it’s completely insane and I’m loving every moment of it. Besides, I’m a diehard Deadman fan…
Now let’s get to the part of the review most of you are here for, the part that isn’t really even a review, but a recap of what happens in this comic so you can get the benefit of indulging in the insanity while saving yourself $4 bucks. And it’s not worth $4 bucks. If it was a cheaper book I would give it a better review, but for $4 dollars a reader deserves better content.
Honestly, this isn’t the sort of comic that deserves to be taken seriously and warrants any sort of deep analysis and the best way for me to criticize just how dumb it is to actually summarize what happens. So here we go…ahem, while writing this I had to stop for a second and laugh at how this is something that actually exists and I guess that’s part of why some folks like it. It’s just…it’s so out-there.
Robin and Deadman are flying on giant bats and are having some bonding time, Robin realizes he has unique physical abilities now do to the low gravity of the center of the Earth (that’s where they are, by the way, in case this is your first time learning about this story), and the two land so they can have a conversation while Robin beats up a pterodactyl-like creature and holy shit I spelled “pterodactyl” right the first time I typed it—ahem! So Robin gets back on the giant bat and leaves while Deadman goes to ruff up a tribe of gnomes. While Robin is flying on the bat he decides to get out his smart-phone and read up on Deadman who seems like a pretty cool guy. He then finds out that Deadman was a trapeze artist who was shot while performing by a man trying to gain entry to the League of Assassins. This shakes Robin to his core because it turns out that Robin’s parents were killed as a test for an assassin’s entry into the League of Assassins, too…or something. I don’t know. First I thought they were going for a Deadman is Dick Grayson’s father kind of twist, but instead I think Robin is realizing that the man responsible for his parents’ death is Sensei and now he wants to go get revenge. It’s a pretty emotional moment for Robin who gets one full page of stunned realization and a follow up page of absolute rage that’s filled with AAAARRRGGGGHHHs all across the page.
And then we cut to Batman who is now at the headquarters of the good guys which consists of Jarmoth Bok the Neanderthal Batman, Dinosaur Robin, little blue space aliens, and the Jazz Magicians (not a typo, they are called JAZZ MAGICIANS). Batman finds that they have the library of Alexandria down there and is even more surprised that they have their own TV networks and internet at the center of the hollow Earth which they call “INTRAnet”
Batman meets up with some doctors and is very cordial with them. They were brought here by Ra’s Al Ghul long ago and have been kept youthful thanks to the Lazarus pit. Batman shakes hands and is all smiles at first but surprises everybody when his emotional state does a 180 and he starts pointing a finger in each doctor’s face as he describes their past transgressions in detail. But he calms down and everything’s fine. In fact, he wants them to show him where the Source of the Nile is. I’m not sure why. It may have been something I read over, but I’m not about to go back and re-read any of these books. After all,
It’s best not to waste it. Speaking of wasting one’s life away, I still had about 15 pages or so left in Batman: Odyssey #4. And it was at about this time that the story switched back to Deadman who was terrorizing a tribe of gnomes over a key, a key to the Source of the Nile. He gets shot up with a bunch of arrows and is injured, but his spirits are still high. Robin shows up again and says he’s going after Sensei, but doesn’t exactly know where Sensei is. Luckily, Deadman is somehow an expert on everything and everybody in the center of the Earth and shows Robin where Sensei is and then makes a joke about how he’s trying to stop cussing which was actually kinda funny. The two part ways and then it’s back to Batman.
…And Anubis. What? Yeah. Batman comes face to face with Anubis and immediately decides the best course of action is to beat the living shit out of him. But not just beat him, explain what fighting style he is using to beat him and making terrible one liners at the same time. My favorite:
The other Egyptian gods show up, well, two more, and everyone decides to chill out and have a conversation. Taweret, the hippo, is the most talkative and he and Batman argue about the Source of the Nile and Batman explains that the Egyptian gods were the result of an ancient genetic experiment gone wrong and they’ve only pretended to be gods because they were granted eternal youth thanks to the Lazarus pits. Feel free to re-read that last sentence to take it all in. It’s quite the bombshell.
But hey, Batman gets a call on his smart-phone and has to take it. It’s from Sensei who has video-chat on his phone, too! Turns out, Robin got captured and Sensei wants to talk shit. Neal Adam’s Batman says no and…here’s the big spoilers… this in addition to the chuckle-worthy lines from Deadman are what gave this book a 2/10 instead of a 1…are you ready? Get ready for spoilers…
Sensei gloats about capturing Robin and Batman says “Blah, blah” pulls out a remote detonator and triggers explosives in Robin’s belt—this kills the Robin. Of course, I’m sure in the next issue we find out that it was a robot Robin or something, but maybe not. Maybe Adams went there. But it’s not like Batman even sacrificed Robin to kill Sensei—Sensei is fine! His clothes don’t even have soot on them. Instead, the Robin explosion affected two nameless goons. It blew the arm off one henchman who will likely live. Another henchman who Sensei says is dead, is described in the next panel as only being in shock. So if Batman actually killed Robin he did it for nothing. And now he’s a murderer, which is something he swore he would never do throughout the entire series so far.
And that’s where this issue ends. I was surprised. Even entertained a little. Just enough to give it a 2/10 instead of a 1 this time around. Instead of wasting $4 bucks on a bad comic, you should support a book like “Lord of the Jungle” the new Tarzan book which started today at on $1. Or pick up Batman #5. It says a lot that Neal Adams can kill off Robin here and the talk of the day remains Snyder and Capullo’s Batman #5.