It’s become somewhat of a tradition around here for me to not really give a review for Odyssey as much as just explain what happens as it happens and voice all of frustration and confusion I feel page by page from this absolutely insane book. I’ve only ever given one issue of Odyssey a higher score than a 1. It received a 2. This book is terrific if you have an extra 4 bucks and want to see what a truly nuts book looks like. It’s good for a laugh. And if you’re a fan of Neal Adam’s legendary art style, then by all means pick this up. He draws just about anything and everything that comes to his mind– turns out it’s a lot of dinosaurs. But if you’re on a budget and you want a Batman story that will enrich the mythology you’ve come to love, well, I just can not recommend this book. It’s too expensive and too bad for me. I guess I just pick it up because I’m a glutton for punishment and am curious as to just how far Neal Adams will go in each issue. It’s a train wreck and I can’t stop looking at it. So, now that I’ve said all that, let’s talk about what happened this month in “Batman Odyssey.”
The last issue of Batman Odyssey ended with Batman detonating Robin’s belt in what appeared to be an attempt to kill the villain Sensei. Robin was blown to smithereens, but Sensei and his henchmen were all unharmed. Batman was cool about it, though, and only the Egyptian deity Anubis was visibly upset by the loss of the boy wonder.
That ending caught me off-guard. Sure, this series has been utterly insane, but I never thought Neal Adams would go so far as to have Batman blow up Robin. I theorized that we would get some wacky twist where it turned out Batman planned it all along and that it was a robot Robin. Just like always, I was wrong. Not that Robin is dead, mind you. No, I’m just dead-wrong about how exactly Batman could have detonated a bomb on Robin’s belt that’s powerful enough to destroy the room and leave a crater yet leave Robin alive. I’ll give you a minute to think about that one. Don’t think too hard though. It’s an incredible feat of childhood playground logic…
Are you ready? The answer is that Batman made bombs that won’t blow up Robin. Yup! The pyrotechnics inside the charges only fire outward and spread leaving Robin a-okay and making everything else go boom. While everyone else is screaming “Holy s#!* Batman killed Robin!” Robin was running to freedom.
Sigh…I’ve got 2 more months of reading this.
So chatty-Kathy Bruce Wayne explains all of this on the book’s opening page and then we cut back to the story of Batman waging war in the center of the earth alongside “Jazz” magicians, aliens, neanderthals, dinosaurs, and Egyptian gods. We see a lot of cool pictures of dinosaurs (can’t really complain about that) as Batman’s troops reclaim their bat and T-Rex mounts. Then it’s off to battle where we see the gun-toting Egyptian Hippo God Taweret and Anubis (who aren’t really Gods, in the last issue we learned that they were the result of ancient genetic experiments or something) blasting holes in assassins.
There’s a new twist, though. Batman has deduced that it was Ra’s, not Sensei who kidnapped Talia and Jamroth Bak’s (the neandethal Bat-Man) girlfriend, but Ra’s Al Ghul. And…this story has gone on for so long and had so much crazy crap and nonsensical twists that I honestly don’t know if Ra’s Al Ghul truely being behind it all makes sense or not. I just don’t know. But apparently the gnomes are involved, too.
Jamroth and Batman take turns snapping the arms of a gnome for information on the gnome leader’s location. They don’t get it, but the newly crippled gnome is easily tracked and they follow him until they reach a wall with 3 optional tunnels. Batman says they shouldn’t follow the injured gnome anymore because it must be a trap because Batman knows that the king lives through the middle tunnel, not the right tunnel– SO WHY EVEN CRIPPLE THE GUY AND CAUSE A RUCKUS IF YOU ALREADY KNEW WHERE THE KING WAS, BATMAN?!So anyway, they track down the king, beat him up and make him talk. (The king actually uses the Stephen Colbert word “truthiness” which was kind of funny)
After learning where their girls are being held, Batman and Jamroth head to the dungeon and free them. Everybody is all smiles and they all hug it out. Batman and Talia agree to go out on a date.
The celebration doesn’t last for long. Turns out that the prince of the gnomes disagrees wit his father and is leading a horde of gnomes to kill Batman and Jamroth. As you can imagine, I’m riveted. But then, just as you’re supposed to feel that all hope is lost, the Egyptian Gods along with both human and dinosaur Robin show up to rescue Batman. I honestly don’t ever get as excited as I do when I can feel that there are only like 3 pages left in an issue of “Batman Odyssey” — giddy is the word.
The king arrives and ends all the fighting by stabbing and killing his own son. Pretty Shakespearean. The final page is of the king looming over his son, tears streaming his cheeks. He has murdered his own child to preserve his kingdom and stay true to his word to Batman that they would all pass safely with their women. There has never been so much gloom in the underworld…but then Robin turns to Batman and says “Y’know, chief, I’m not so sure comin’ here was such a great idea after all!” *cue laugh track*
End of Issue #5
Honestly, I think the craziness has leveled off. It was a pretty tame issue by “Batman Odyssey” standards. Still awful! Don’t get me wrong, I will NEVER read this again, but other than seeing Anubis and the Hippo god firing automatic weapons and the “I made bombs that won’t blow Robin up” thing that happened in the first couple pages it was pretty much all about gnomes. So if you’re wanting to pick up an issue of “Batman: Odyssey” because you want to see what all the buzz is about in regards to the insanity…I’d skip this one and pick up the previous issue. That one was way more nonsensical. Perhaps I should go back and grade these Odyssey chapters according to craziness instead of true literary quality…something to consider.