I think there were a lot of people ready to bail on this series after the Mad Hatter arc and I can definitely understand why but this issue was really good and I think you should buy it.

Sigh. I feel a bit like I’m trying to tell you to give a friend of mine another chance, “He’s cleaned himself up now, I swear! Just one more date and if you don’t like him then you can move on.”

Gregg Hurwitz wrote this one well and Alex Maleev gave it the gritty atmosphere that a Batman book needs. It has a great cover, terrific use of Jim Gordon, and even though it was solicited as being the first part of yet another flashback origin story there was none of that here. It probably will turn into that in future installments (and it better not be another creepy childhood story) but issue #22 all by itself is a pretty great Batman comic. Or maybe I’ve just lost my mind? I tweeted just a few hours ago that I’m not sure if my trip to Comic-Con made me soft or if I really am reading this many good comics but I’m on a bit of a hot streak right now with nothing I’ve reviewed in the past 24 hours getting anything under a 7 (and a lot of 8.5s today)! Since I still have a long way to go before I’m all caught up, I’ll just put the rest of my observations in straight-to-the-point bullets.

  • Spoiler
    It’s too soon for a Clayface story. After watching a few episodes of Beware the Batman it’s clear that Batman’s rogues gallery runs deep and it would be nice to see more titles experiment with villains who aren’t used so frequently. We just saw Clayface in Batman #20 and in that story he was supposed to be gaining a new ability to mimic someone’s very DNA– a point that wasn’t touched on in this issue even though the capture of Clayface from that book was mentioned. Something else that wasn’t mentioned, however, was how exactly Clayface managed to get out.  
  • Spoiler
    I really, really hope Hurwitz has a reason in mind for why Clayface needs to steal. Snyder didn’t in his 2-part arc and I really want to know what a man who can change into anything needs with all these jewels.
  • Spoiler
    If the spotlight Gordon switches on is lightweight enough to plug into an average outlet then I can’t imagine it would have the energy possible to light up the sky and get Batman’s attention. It’s still a cool scene, but you’ve got to suspend your disbelief a little extra.
  • It’s features what is probably the best opening scene of any issue of Batman: The Dark Knight.
  • Am I the only one who wouldn’t be all that disturbed to see Jim Gordon go all John McClane on some bad guys? Be a little more like the hardened, take-action Frank Miller Gordon. Not running in guns blazing all the time, but just willing to take a shot from time to time.
  • Hurwitz writes Bruce in a way that sounds more like the Dick Grayson Batman. At least that’s how it sounded to me during the Bruce/Alfred scenes.
  • Dave McCaig’s colors perfectly complement Alex Maleev’s art.
  • I was initially disappointed in the look of the villain, but the final page sold me on how well Maleev can bring the scary.
  • Hurwitz writes a great Gordon and I’d like to hear more of the character’s narration in future issues. I sincerely hope that Gordon doesn’t exit the arc after this issue.
  • Some really interesting questions are brought up as to what the villain is up to and the comic left me excited to see how things play out. It better not break my heart again.
  • It’s a very quick read.

Overall

I’m giving it another chance. Call me a hopeless romantic but I think this could really be good. I even went back and forth between giving it a score as high up as a 9/10 but…I’ve been hurt before, ya know? Alex Maleev drew a beautiful book that had a great atmosphere brought to it by McCaig’s colors and Hurwitz’s way with Gordon’s words. I just pray that this doesn’t turn into another 6 or 7 issue flashback fest showcasing another villain’s messed up childhood.

SCORE: 8/10