My first thought upon opening “Batman” #9 was “What am I looking at? …oh…well if that’s what it is then the next page is going to be…” *flip* “AWESOME!”
I then flipped back and began reading the comic normally, of course, but it was a very cool intro and I had to cheat.
The Price of Admission
This is a comic in 3 parts, really. First you have the balls-to-the-wall action with Batman in his, let’s call it “Owl-Buster Armor” smiting undead assassins (probably enough reason for you to buy the book right there!), then there’s a quiet section that picks up after the events of “Detective Comics” #9, and finally you’ll read a back-up story that follows Jarvis Pennyworth and a Wayne Manor mystery. It’s a fair amount of content and well worth your $3.99.
The Art of Ass-Kickery
Just like last month’s penny-pancaking, there are several “Oh snap!” moments sure to get you excited. Capullo’s art is very energetic–the more action scenes he does the better! And since we’re in the cave for the bulk of this issue the look depended a lot on Glapion’s inks and FCO’s dingy color pallet and vibrant indigo blues. It’s a great looking book. Also, if you look at this cover and issue #4 you’ll find a wonderful juxtaposition. Oh, and the variant cover by Dale Keown is pretty dynamic and worth checking out as well.
Damn You, Detective
As for the story, there isn’t too much progression until the final couple pages of the main story. Instead, Snyder focuses on the history of the Wayne family and their previous run-ins with owls. It’s a nice anecdote that perfectly mirrors the action on the page, but at this point I’ve about had my fill of thought boxes detailing how owls kill bats. We get it. The metaphors are nice, but it’s best to not have too much of a good thing otherwise it feels like I’m getting beaten over the head.
The real problem with the main story is the jarring 3 hour jump in time. If you read “Detective Comics” #9 last week then you already knew Batman was going to come out of the cave just fine here AND with the batmobile. This robbed “Batman” of some of its intensity, but worse is when Batman finally makes it out of the cave he says “I’m going to Arkham Asylum first!” and we’re immediately slapped across the face with an editor’s note saying “SEE DETECTIVE COMICS #9” and then we jump ahead 3 hours. It disrupts the pacing of the story and it’s a blatant cash-grab. Plus, after seeing what Snyder and Capullo did at Arkham in issue #1, I’m certain that they would have delivered a better Jeremiah Arkham rescue adventure than “Detective Comics” did.
Papa Pennyworth Puts Pen to Parchment
Are you up for re-writing some Wayne family history? Snyder and Tynion IV are and they’re starting off with the letters of Alfred’s father, Jarvis Pennyworth. As much as I prefer the idea of Alfred helping raise Bruce since birth, it now appears that Jarvis definitely knew and cared for the boy through his toddler years as the Court of Owls and the curse of Wayne Manor threatened the family. Its’ a very atmospheric tale that’s off to a pretty good start. As an avid reader of “American Vampire” I have to say that this is some of the best art I’ve seen from Rafael Albuquerque in a while and I ALWAYS enjoy his work. Colorist Dave McCaig really made some great color choices as well. The blues and green sof the stormy night have an old horror movie feel and the golds and reds of a happy Wayne Manor long forgotten has a beautifully nostalgic tone.
Get it. It’s great as always and its only major hindrance is the lost time caused by the “Detective Comics” tie-in. Honestly, how could you turn down a new batmobile, a T-Rex, Pennyworth(s), use of the word “Vengeance”, and Batman vs. an undead horde?