The cover of this comic says “Gratuitous Bat-Appearance” and, seriously, that’s all you really need to know about this issue titled “Milk Run”. Consequently this will be the shortest review I have ever written for this site.
Because if you know as much about Infinity Man and the Forever People as I do, you basically know what’s available for perusing in the DC wiki. Even though these characters have been kicking around the comic book block for more than 40 years, they are not the sort of thing I have ever become familiar with. So for me, reading this book was a break from Batman in a really weird way. And a break from anything I would deliberately pick off the shelf since it deals with intergalactic aliens, space travel, goofy costumes full of impractical headgear and pouches (seriously, this was like a 90s flashback), and team dynamics that are maybe hilariously funny if you’re into that sort of thing.
And then there’s Bat-Cow. And Bat-Cow’s gratuitous Bat-appearance when four intrepid travelers from New Genesis come crashing down the earth in the middle of a Wayne Enterprises Dairy and Agriculture branch located out in Ventura, CA. I guess poor Bat-Cow was shipped off (cape intact) after Damian’s demise. At least Alfred didn’t turn her into hamburger, I guess.
Bat-Cow gets two pages of action including licking the New Genesis foursome’s mother box, chewing cud, indicating a bus stop, and handing one of them a hat.
If I shared anymore panels, I’d have showed you the whole thing!
The cover is the biggest win in this particular package. Howard Porter does an excellent job of encapsulating the tension of the encounter and Bat-Cow’s placid demeanor in response to the boom-tube travelers’ anxieties.
Also, the fact that it acknowledges that this is just a gratuitous Bat-appearance wins so many points from me. I’ll take this over any sort of misleading cover marketing that tries to make me buy a book by using a picture of something that it absolutely won’t deliver.
After two pages, Bat-Cow “walks her own path” and you’re left to determine whether you actually want to keep reading the subsequent 16 pages that remain.
I went ahead and read it and I guess the rest of the story is interesting enough, though I had a hard time relating to the characters or connecting to their mission. There is a very deliberate heavy influence of Jack Kirby in the art (Kirby was the original creator). But Keith Giffen and Dan Didio render everything at a weird slant to the right, which struck me as kind of bizarre. The tongue-in-cheek narrative make this a definite throwback book: just big noisy fun without much substance or consequence and with a huge splashy reveal ending like in the good ol’ days when the villain makes his dramatic entrance. It’s a formula that works, obviously, even after all these years. You don’t have to look farther than Snyder’s first installation of Batman: Endgame to be assured of that.
I honestly have no idea of the appeal of this book, but the creative team certainly seems to be enjoying it.
If he was going to have a gratuitous Bat-appearance, Didio should have found a way to make Bat-Cow at least a little more integral to the action of the story. At least that would have made this less silly than it already is.
- You love all things Bat-Cow.
- You actually read Infinity Man and the Forever People (if you do, I’d really like to hear what you have to say about this!)
- You just like the funny cover (it’s impossible not to, right?)
If you buy this for Bat-Cow prepare to find it sadly lacking. This is a goofy, fun, old-style comic book like you would expect to find on the stands in Kirby’s era, which means it probably has an appeal for connoisseurs of that sort of thing. If you’re just a Bat-fan wandering into this strange territory, feel free to skip it unless you absolutely want the cover for a pin-up.