Welcome to another thrilling episode of “Brandon reviews Bat-mite”.  When we last saw our hero, he was engaged in grievous combat with that master of paralysis, Gridlock!  Robin came to Bat-Mite’s rescue, but at the detriment of allowing that cunning culprit of chronology to make his daring escape.  And so we join our hero as he desperately races against time to stop the nefarious machinations of a madman…

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batmite4           …or maybe he’s just trying to make dinner.

I’m just going to come right out with it.  Only a quarter of the scenes in this book are really worth your time, and they involve Gridlock and his hideout.  The rest of the book is spent setting up a denouement with Mite’s new roomies and an eight page long scene between Booster and Mite that pretty much boils down to nothing but an attempt at witty banter.  The absence of humor isn’t from lack of trying though, as the book launches jokes at us like they are going out of style.  It’s just that very few of them seem to stick.  We also get plenty of movie and even comic references that are contextually relevant, I’m just not laughing at them.  I see them, recognize the source material that they are being pulled from, but they just aren’t doing anything for me. 

Spoiler
When looking at the bigger picture, even the scenes I liked seemed like an afterthought.  As if they were constructed merely to give Booster a reason to interact with Bat-Mite.  If Booster was really there to take Gridlock in, shouldn’t he have kept hunting for him after Gridlock disappears at the end.  As it stands, Booster just leaves at the end without having accomplished his goal.  Kinda iffy if you ask me. 

You know what I did after reading this issue?  I sat back in my chair, ran my fingers through my hair, and let out a sigh as I tried to think of something I could write here that would be worth your time to read. (unlike this comic)  Instead of beating a dead horse, I’m just going to focus on the positives in order to save you and me some time.

Corin Howell remains the shinning star of this series.  I’ve done nothing but give her rave reviews since issue #1.  But I have to admit, there is only so much of this I can take before even her artwork isn’t enough to placate me anymore, and I think I have reached that point.

The other element that I already mentioned as a positive was Gridlock and his lair.  It seems to me that most of the stronger gags were presented within these pages.  In what also seems to be a continuing theme for me from this series, I found myself identifying more with the villain than our heroes.  Not only does he have an awesome collection that any collector would kill for, but I found myself rooting for him as the fisticuffs lead to a fire and his precious collection burned.  I have a modest collection myself, and seeing this was one of my worst fears brought to light.  To be honest, I’m not sure what kind of message Jurgens is trying to send here.  I mean, don’t most of us have something in common with Gridlock on some level?  He is the comic book reading collector of past paraphernalia.  That is me.  And I am sure that is a lot of you too.  Are we the villains?

Gridlock also goes on about preserving the world when it was best.  (Be honest, who here hasn’t said, “When I was a kid etc, etc, etc”) Booster retorts that he doesn’t have the right to force the past down the throats of the young.  I might be wrong here, but I don’t think there is any forcing necessary.  Half of everything I see today is something from my childhood.  Albeit, most of it is remade, rebooted, and re-marketed.  But still, the culture of the past is very much alive and well in the present and thriving quite happily.

Next time in the pages of Bat-Mite:

batmite4.1I smell a Marvel lawsuit coming on…

  Interesting Facts:

  • Let’s take a break from the comic scene and discuss a couple of Bat-Mite’s appearances in other mediums.

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  • In 1977, Bat-Mite appeared on The New Adventures of Batman.  Not to be confused with the other ongoing Batman cartoon of the time, Super Friends.  In a peculiar choice by the animation department, Bat-Mite was colored purple.

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  • In 1994, Bat-Mite appeared on an episode of Batman the Animated series.  In the episode, Batman seeks out the expertise of Karl Rossum, a robotic expert who switched careers after his creation H.A.R.D.A.C. tried to take over the world.  His new job path involved building animatronic toys.  When Batman and Robin come knocking on Rossum’s door, they are greeted by an artificial Bat-Mite.  He exclaims, “Greetings Dynamic Duo, I’m your biggest fan!  I just want to help”, right before he falls apart.

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  • In 2009, Bat-Mite appeared in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold entitled Legends of the Dark Mite!

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  • Bat-Mite was a playable character in the video game Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.  Here he can be seen with his Superman counterpart, Mister Mxyzptlk.

Recommended if…

  • Corin Howell’s artwork is worth the price of admission for you.

Overall:

Plenty of jokes, but not many laughs.  Even the magnificent artwork of Corin Howell won’t be enough to stifle your groans as you flip through another attempt from Dan Jurgens to tickle your funny bone.

SCORE: 3.5 / 10

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