It’s finally here. We’ve reached the end of Neal Adams’ “Batman Odyssey”, the best Worst Batman Mini-series Ever Made!
And since it’s such a ridiculous comic, it really isn’t fair for me to grade it on the same 1-10 scale I usually use. Instead, let’s recognize that “Batman Odyssey” is best read (it really should just be avoided) when it is at its absolute craziest. So I’m going to award points for each ridiculous event moment in the book–the higher the number, the crazier the issue. Did he just Neal Adams just throw in a few Egyptian gods? There’s a point! Did the Egyptian gods just say they are actually a result of ancient genetic experiments? There’s another point! Everyone should read at least one issue of “Batman Odyssey” but make sure it’s the craziest one possible.
Naturally, when I say the crazy thing it’s likely going to spoil it for you so if you’d like to skip to the end and just look at the Insanity Score Total, I won’t be offended. Hell, I won’t even know you did it!
Rating the Crazy
Right from the get-go I was pretty underwhelmed with the lack of zaniness on the cover. Past issues have shown Batman fighting a cyclops, a T-Rex, and riding giant bats through the center of the Earth. Why is it that the grand finale’s cover that’s been about 2 years in the making is only a shot of Batman chasing rats down a sewer? -1 Point
As it turns out the cover also doubles as the first page of the comic. Batman is, in fact, running down the sewer tunnels to face Sensei back at Arkham Asylum. Do I remember why he’s back at Arkham? No. I honestly don’t understand what’s been going on in this book and I’ve read every issue. But I only read it once. It’s like something out of an H.P. Lovecraft novel that shouldn’t be gazed upon for too long or you risk losing your mind.
The story progresses to a fight in the asylum involving Batman, Talia, Ra’s Al Ghul, Robin, Jamroth Bok the Neanderthal Batman, and the caped crusader himself versus Sensei and horde of gnomes and henchmen. It’s not really that weird compared to other things that have happened, but it is amusing that Jamroth is not actually there to fight, but instead brought a camcorder to film the fight so he can show the citizens at the center of the Earth…re-reading that sentence I see that I’ve read this comic for far too long for THAT to not sound too crazy. +1
During the fight Batman turns away to remove his cape only to turn back and find that Sensei has vanished. Batman races down every corridor of Arkham searching for the crafty Sensei but cannot find him. So where’s Sensei? He’s standing right behind Batman the whole time. Batman runs, Sensei runs. Batman crawls, Sensei crawls just and inch or so behind Batman’s back. It’s one of the silliest things I’ve ever seen a villain do to “outsmart” the Dark Knight. It’s a full page of Batman running around like a buffoon and all the rogues watching him through their cells snickering at the oblivious hero. +5
Batman realizes he’s being duped and they go back to fighting. Why Robin and none of the other allies spoke up while Batman was searching for “shadow ninja” Sensei is never mentioned, but everyone is standing there watching the fight. Robin even gets in an argument with Ra’s Al Ghul in which he refers to the terrorist leader as a “bag of cow chips”. +1
For some unexplained reason, Sensei and Batman’s fighting words turn into hushed whipsers and all of the onlookers begin heckling them to speak-up. +1
As the fight wages on, Batman has a poorly timed flashback to an even that didn’t actually happen in the previous issues. Not to my memory anyway. I remember one, maybe two fights with Batman and Sensei back in the underworld and all of a sudden Batman has a lengthy flashback to a fight he had with Sensei where they stopped and had a lengthy discussion. Then it’s all over, Batman puts Sensei in a headlock and demands that Robin fetch a gun (a real handgun) from the pocket of his cape (yeah, you read that right). All of the rogues (who are watching from their cells) gasp in astonishment as…are you ready…BATMAN SHOOTS SENSEI THROUGH THE SPINE! Blam! Blam! Blam! In a two-page spread, too! And man, is Batman holding that gun awkwardly. +10
Alright, so Batman kills Sensei in front of everybody and then threatens that if anyone over steps out of line again–they get the gun. But wait, that’s not entirely true. Cut to two weeks later and we learn that Batman and Sensei made a deal for some reason and Senseit got to fake his death in exchange for a vile of green potion (lazarus?) that when ingested would transform him into…A BABY. Batman takes Baby Sensei to an adoption agency has bestows them upon the proud Asian parents David and China Woo (Yes, the Asian woman’s name is “China Woo”) +10
And that’s it. Batman ends the story there and Superman (who is the guy Batman has been telling the tale to this whole time) flies off doing the “swoosh thing” (Dick and Bruce’s term for it, not mine. Seriously.). The final two pages of a story titled “Batman Odyssey” are all about how brilliant and incredibly cool Superman is and the very final shot is of Superman triumphantly flying off the page.
Final Score: 22 Crazy Points
Not that impressive compared to the last issue and it’s an awfully, awfully weak and tame ending to what has otherwise been the most flamboyant Batman mini-series ever. Please don’t buy this. It costs $3.99 for crying out loud. There are so many better things to spend your money on.
At least it’s over and I’ll never have to read another one of these Odyssey books again.