Every so many years a stellar line-up of comics industry creators are given great creative freedom to tell tales with the full flourish of their pen and unbound by the continuity that would restrain their ideas in the monthly titles. Adventures so wildly different that range from the tragic, the funny, the surreal, and the hardboiled are all served together in this collection of short stories united only by their stark black and white presentation and undeniable love for The Dark Knight mythology.

Content

The hardcover and softcover editions include the following:

  • Batman: Black and White, Vol. 4 issues #1-6
  • A cover gallery of all issues as well as the DC Collectibles Sean Murphy variant for issue #1

Talent Includes:

  • Paul Dini
  • Neal Adams
  • Jeff Lemire
  • Sean Murphy
  • Chris Samnee
  • and more

Review

No two stories are exactly alike. While the name and cover design definitely give the impression that you’re in store for gritty noir tales, what you get is actually something far more diverse and I think it’s all the more rewarding for it. Was the social commentary a bit heavy-handed in that last story? Why not cleanse the palate with a hilarious adventure featuring Harley Quinn taking a bazooka to a burger joint? Interested in something spooky? What about a nostalgic look back to the Silver Age? Everything from classic detective fiction to up-close examinations of the tropes that cut through Batman’s 75-year history can all be found inside these pages and it’s doubtful any two Batman fans will share the same list of favorites. Bellow you’ll find links to my in-depth look at each individual chapter of this 30-story collection and I’ve also included a brief note as to whether or not I felt each short was a must-read, just “okay,” or if it was one of the few I found completely skippable.

BlackWhite1

  • Batman: Black and White #1 review

    • Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When
      • Must-read
    • Batman Zombie
      • Must-read
    • Justice is Served
      • Must-read (one of my favorite stories of 2013)
    • Driven
      • Must-read (Also one of my favorite stories of 2013)
    • Head Games
      • Must-read

BatmanBlackWhite2

  • Batman: Black and White #2 review

    • Manbat Out of Hell
      • Skip it
    • Into the Circle
      • Must-read
    • A Place in Between
      • Just okay
    • Winter’s End
      • Skip it
    • Silent Knight…Unholy Knight!
      • Just okay

BatmanBlackWhite3

BatmanBlackWhite4

  • Batman: Black and White #4 review

    • Ghost of Gotham
      • Just okay
    • Tea-Minus Party
      • Must-read
    • Long Day
      • Must-read
    • Even in the Darkest Moments
      • Just okay
    • Missing in Action
      • Just okay

BatmanBlackWhite5

  • Batman: Black and White #5 review

    • Hell Night
      • Must-read
    • Cat and Mouse
      • Skip it
    • “I Killed the Bat!”
      • Must-read
    • Flipside
      • Skip it
    • Hope
      • Just okay

BatmanBlackWhite6

  • Batman: Black and White #6 review

    • Clay
      • Must-read
    • Bruce
      • Must-read
    • Hiding in Plain Sight
      • Skip it
    • She Lies at Midnight
      • Must-read
    • To Beat the Bat
      • Must-read

Bonus Material

Batman Black and White is a big deal, so why isn’t there any bonus material here? No retrospective on the previous three landmark installments, no commentary by the incredible ensemble of creative talent– nothing! All this collection has to offer in addition to issues #1-6 is the cover gallery featuring the covers of the comics you’re paying to read. They’re nice covers, but as far as bonus material goes this is pretty dull.

Value: Full Price!

While the bonus material is disappointing, the re-read value on this collection is really high since so many stories are so entertaining and quickly digested. You also couldn’t ask for a better book to share with friends who are interested in getting into comics for the first time. Every issue is so easily accessible and there are so many different flavors to sample that there’s bound to be something to please even the most discerning reader. As far as the price tag goes, buying the trade paperback is a great deal. The original issues were sold at $5 bucks a piece, but the softcover is available at $20 dollars for all six chapters, which is a considerable savings. When you consider the added discount you’d get at a place like Amazon (currently $15.92), you’d be crazy not to pick this one up.

Overall

This diverse collection of monochromatic short stories by some of the most well-respected people in comics has something to offer every Bat-fan. Not all 30 vignettes are going to astonish, but the bulk of what you find here is worth reading, re-reading, and sharing with friends.

SCORE: 8/10