Just imagine how ridiculous this book’s cover would’ve looked had there been only 13 knives sticking out of Batman’s back and shoulders instead of 14!
Seriously though, this issue is awesome.
It’s time to throw-down. No more flashbacks to Bruce’s early days, no more student/teacher moments between Nobody and Robin, no more father and son squabbles; Batman is angry and there’s nothing scarier than that. This installment is one big fight scene loaded with jaw dropping splash pages of an absolutely brutal battle. Because this chapter is almost entirely action, issue #7 is a quick read, but that’s fine. In fact, it’s rather satisfying! Patrick Gleason does such a phenomenal job capturing every tiny detail, every drop of blood, every crack of the armor, every tensing muscle, that you’ll flip through these pages over and over again to fully appreciate every blow delivered between Batman and his enemy. Gray and Kalisz really do a great job blending the inks and colors together for a rich look that’s filled with dark shadows and vibrant orange and yellow flames while still making sure that each page of this fight doesn’t look the same (and I love that vibrant green acid). Due to their impeccable work, every page of is unique, stunning, and, most importantly, memorable.
Since we’ve had 6 months for this story to develop, along with our hatred for Nobody, the brawl is especially satisfying. I found Nobody to be an interesting and formidable villain and he definitely puts up a fight here. The rage we see Batman put on display is also totally justified and perfectly in character.
I don’t have anything really negative to say about this (without going into spoilers) except that when it was over I wanted more. Like I said, it’s a fast read because the action is so fluid, but in the end I feel that this whole arc could have been compressed more. I don’t think it’s completely over-stayed it’s welcome, I’ve very much enjoyed it, but I think it could have been truly great if it had been a 5 or 6 part arc rather than 8. Also, there were a few lines of dialogue that just didn’t sound right:
Batman: I have only one purpose tonight, Morgan — and that’s to make you — bleed
That sounded fine to me. It’s a bit too long, but it’s fine. The problem is that the line didn’t stop there. It was actually,
Batman: I have only one purpose tonight, Morgan — and that’s to make you — bleed — badly!
A bit much.
And then there’s the final line that Damian gives in the book that was particularly awful. But other than 2 ugly lines and the desire for more isn’t too bad at all. In fact, the need for more is more of a compliment here than anything. It was a few earlier issues that needed to be condensed, this felt good. But maybe I just enjoyed seeing Nobody get beat up too much. And it should be noted that it’s not a good jumping-on point, but I’m sure everyone realizes that the 7th chapter of an 8-part saga isn’t a great place to come aboard. For everybody else who has been reading this series so far, it’s absolutely a must-buy.
If you want to see Batman pushed to the edge (and who doesn’t?) then you’ll get a real kick out of this thrilling and satisfying final showdown. If you want to know why it got an 8 instead of a 9 or higher then you’ll have to read some spoilers…
PS. Make sure to join the Batman-News NCAA Tournament Challenge group if you’re a basketball fan (you have to join before the games start Thursday morning). The name of the group is Batsketball.