Damian, comic related references, and insults lobbed at the selfie generation. Ladies and Gentlemen, what we have here is a good issue of Bat-Mite!
The only thing I really ever wanted from this series was jokes custom made for comic fans. Ones that only we would get and appreciate. While Jurgens has only lightly peppered the previous issues with such jokes, relying more on pop culture references, this issue really delivers on the comic front. Not only do we get several gags relying on our comic knowledge from the past, we also get a slew that are drawn from the live action and animated television adaptations of our favorite crime fighting phenom.
Don’t think that the only humor present is in references. The comic also pokes fun at several comic cliches, from death traps to origin stories. My favorite was a self aware moment in which Bat-Mite points out that the only reason him and Damian are fighting is because it is standard operating procedure for heroes to do so when they first meet. It was even more so amusing to me because he called it “always-classic”. I know a fair number of comic goers who would call this reoccurring theme, “always-unnecessary”. But for some reason, people like to see which of their heroes will come out on top, so it has become a staple of the genre.
Not only does this issue feature jokes that are actually relevant to a comic crowd, it also features Damian! Jurgens does a wonderful job at capturing all the subtle nuances of the character. From his condescending nature, to the highfalutin air about his words, and right down to his telltale <tt>: it’s all there! Corin Howell also manages to capture a look on Damian’s face that is a mixture of annoyance and utter disdain for the predicament at hand.
Speaking of Corin, she delivers another amusingly animated and over the top visual smorgasbord for us to enjoy. I know I’ve said this before, but I can’t get over how many different facial expressions she is able to come up with for Bat-Mite. After drawing him over 100 times in the last three issues, you’d think she’d start to run out of ideas, but no, it is still just as fresh as the first issue. Kudos to her for being the consistent shinning star of this miniseries.
My favorite part of the entire issue was when Gridlock starts monologuing: much in the way that Doctor Trauma had an issue to pick with the youth of the world only caring about what is new and fresh and not valuing actual accomplishments and talent, Gridlock also takes issue with today’s youth. And to be honest, he has a real point. Some comics are all about action, others can be about unraveling a mystery, and occasionally you get a comic that is actually trying to say something. I think it is safe to say that the villains in this miniseries are the ones who are here to teach us a lesson and not the hero.
- Why are Reagan and Dylan roommates? Their personalities don’t really seem to mesh very well. He is a layabout, and she is a successful government agent. Seems rather peculiar to me. I’m wondering if there is something down the pipeline to explain this.
- Reagan works for the FSB (Federal Security Bureau)? Umm…that’s the Russian version of the FBI. I’m still not sure how intentional the title was that Jurgens used. Is she really a Russian counter intelligence and internal security officer, or was Jurgens trying to come up with a random government sounding job title and inadvertently picked one that already existed?
- Channel 52 might not be appearing in the back of our comics anymore, but it appears that it is still an actual news station in comic reality land.
- In one scene, Bat-Mite doesn’t understand the concept of a TV show. That it isn’t real and they are just actors following a script. I found it odd that he couldn’t grasp the concept when one considers that Bat-Mite is one of the few characters who actually is aware of the fact that he is in a comic book. I guess this version of him doesn’t adhere to that awareness.
- On a television set, Bat-Mite sees that Robin has been taken hostage. The title of the news report is, “Robin Dies At Dawn?” This is actually the title of a Batman and Robin story that appeared in Batman #156 from 1963. In the story, Batman assists in some experiment that makes him hallucinate Robin dying on a alien world. The experience is so traumatic that Batman has to retire from crime fighting. Robin continues to protect the city on his own, but when he is taken captive by a crime gang who threatens to kill him, Batman comes out of retirement to save Robin. He is able to shake of the hallucinations because the idea of Robin dying in reality, rather than fantasy, is enough to harden his mettle.
- Bat-Mite uses the Wonder Twin’s catch phrase. Zan and Jayna, better known as The Wonder Twins, were alien twins who had the ability to transform into various liquid states and animals upon bumping fists. They first appeared in 1977 on the animated Super Friends television show produced by Hanna-Barbera.
- Shark Repellent Bat Spray! From the 1966 Batman Movie starring Adam West and Burt Ward.
- Bat-Mite requests that his new roommates purchase some Head Cheese. I had no idea what that was, so I went ahead and looked it up. To save the inquisitive some time: Head cheese is a loaf of meat made of the scraped off flesh from a pig’s head. Ugh…
- You want to read an issue of Bat-Mite with actual comic related jokes and references.
- You are of fan of the ever talented Corin Howell.
- You love Damian Wayne!
- You like hearing a little societal rant from a mad man in a mask.
This was far better than the first two issues of this miniseries, and I am hoping that this wasn’t just a fluke, but evidence of the direction that the rest of the series will be taking. This issue had plenty of comic related jokes and references, which was all I really ever wanted and expected to begin with, so I am happy to see it finally delivering.
SCORE: 8 / 10