During the Christmas season, Batman discovered that Penguin was forcing illegal immigrants to work in his sweat shops, but just as soon as Batman began his investigation he was captured. Issue #27 begins with Batman caged and awaiting the wrath of Oswald Cobblepot.
Like issue #26, Gregg Hurwtiz wrote another chapter that foregoes dialogue and prose to tell its story through the artwork of Alberto Ponticelli alone and I must say that it’s an approach that was far more effective this time around. In fact, I don’t really know if issue #26 is all that necessary. Readers could easily pick this comic up and put the pieces together because it’s a very standard Batman adventure and the pacing and level of information provided in these pages is sufficient enough to sum up everything we learned about the previous chapter all without witnessing Batman brought down like a punk (seriously, he just stood there as the Penguin’s henchmen fired nets at him).
One of the big flaws of the last issue was that for a title that features Batman’s name in it twice, it featured very little Batman. Most of the time was spent showing the sob story of the victims, but it was a tactic that failed because it ultimately felt like it was trying too hard what with Hurwitz piling abuse upon abuse and even tossing a dead baby in for good measure. Issue #27, on the other hand, is actually quite fun– especially if you can suspend your disbelief that Batman’s escape attempt would totally not kill all of the henchmen involved (it’s cool, but those guys should all probably be dead). Seeing Batman bring all the bad guys down, do a little detective work, and tie up every loose end into one happy ending that really shows Batman to be a terrific hero all makes for a solid read, albeit a quick one due to the wordless narrative.
The artwork by Ponticelli shines most during Batman’s action scenes but falters during the slower, more emotional ones. His sketchy style can be inconsistent and even off-putting, but when it’s right it’s very right. There are some legitimately cool panels and pages here that I enjoyed very much and some sequences made for wonderful examples of sequential storytelling. Since the goal was to tell an entertaining Batman story without any words, I’d say issue #27 was a success. It won’t blow you away, but it’s an overall quite decent read that feels like would’ve fit right in with the Legends of the Dark Knight title.
- You like wordless AKA “silent” comics that tell the story through visuals alone
- A straight-forward Batman pummels henchmen story is what you’re in the mood for
- You’re still in the Christmas spirit– it takes place around the holidays
- You read the previous issue or not. While it picks up where the previous chapter left off, this 2nd part of a 2-part story isn’t complicated at all and can be easily followed by anyone
Honestly, I would recommend just skipping issue #26 and reading this one alone. It’s a decent silent comic with plenty of action and a direct story any Batman fan can enjoy. It doesn’t offer anything we haven’t seen a hundred times before but it’s enjoyable if you’re in the mood for a really quick read– it is a silent comic after all! I do wish that the visuals were more consistent throughout since there isn’t any dialogue or prose, but artist Alberto Ponticelli definitely delivered more impressive pages for this finale.