From days of long ago…from deep within the bowels of Gotham City…comes a legend. The legend of Batman, Defender of Gotham! A mighty hero. Loved by good, feared by evil. As Batman’s legend grew, peace settled across Gotham. The Bat-Family was formed in order to maintain that peace. But one day a horrible new menace emerged to threaten the good people of Gotham. Batman was needed once more. This is that story….
Yeah…all this stuff with giant monsters got me to reminiscing about Voltron. Then I started daydreaming about all the different bat-vehicles joining together to form a giant robot to take on these monstrosities. Sure, its pretty ridiculous. But you know what, it’s so beyond ridiculous that I might actually be able to enjoy something like that for the sheer audacity of it all. Hey, I’m trying to make an effort to get into this story. But up front, this is actually the biggest thing from the issue that caught my attention:
Now every time I smell fresh cut grass I’m going to picture them screaming bloody murder.
Part 3 of “Night of the Monster Men” breaks down into 3 easy to follow narratives. The first involves Batman and Batwoman battling it out with our cover-featured monster in order to minimize the death and destruction caused by its rampage. The second has Spoiler and Cassandra Cain attempting to keep the civilian population from losing their cool and rioting. And the final one involves Gotham Girl and Nightwing handling a monster run amuck at Blackgate Penitentiary.
I found the Gotham Girl/Nightwing portion of the story to be the most satisfying. In my review for Batman #7, I made no attempt to hide the fact that Batman fighting Godzilla sized monsters was not the direction I like to see Batman stories go in. However, Gotham Girl is basically our Superman proxy. And fighting giant monsters is exactly the kind of thing I expect to see Superman doing. So, having a super-powered person going toe to toe against some bizarre behemoth played out perfectly for me.
Plus, she tears that things arms right off! You don’t see that everyday.
Generalizations aside, I was very happy to see that it was specifically Claire filling this role. As the central driving figure behind King’s currently unfolding Batman story, it think giving her character a more active role in the overall story makes a lot of sense. It’s also a great way to remind us of how “NotMM” fits into the larger narrative. Additionally, having Claire square off against such a ghastly opponent played very well for her character’s current dilemma. I’d imagine that even if she weren’t currently programmed to be afraid, that monster would be giving most people the heebie jeebies anyway. So, overcoming it seems like an even greater accomplishment and test of her character.
The weakest and shortest plot of the bunch is the one involving Batman and Batwoman. It doesn’t amount to much more than them acting like a couple of flies buzzing about and annoying the monster. There is some dialogue that attests to the fact that Batman wants to do everything and keep everyone safe. But really, that’s noting new. It’s simply a reiteration of what he always does. So, it’s nothing bad, but surely nothing we readers need reminded of.
Maybe it’s just me, but this seems far more disquieting and threatening than 40 foot tall monsters.
That leaves the cave scene with Spoiler and Cassandra. On the surface, I thought it was pretty good. But after reading it a few more times, several questions began presenting themselves. Does it seem odd to anyone else that the one spot our heroes decided to take people to be safe in just happens to be a spot targeted by one of the monsters? I’m willing to concede that our fourth monster had a previous connection with the park the way our third monster had with the prison and that is why they are there, but it’s still a very very very convenient turn of events. Another thing that struck me as odd was that Cassandra came up with the grass idea. I mean, she was raised to be an assassin. I wouldn’t think that entailed too much training in the field of botany. Lastly, all that red goo is making the Gothamites go goofy. That is good and all, but maybe it was unnecessary overkill. I mean, we have seen in the past that Gothamites can be a very rowdy and biased bunch as it is. I’d have to say that, with or without that red goo, I’d imagine the outcome might have been the same. No need to go supernatural when good old human failings will do the trick just as well.
Art for this issue is provided by Andy MacDonald. I wasn’t familiar with his work, so I gave him a quick Google search, and what did I find….
80’s CARTOON VILLAINS PLAYING BASKETBALL!!!!!
Granted, this has nothing to do with the issue, but it makes anything I had to say null and void because I am now simply too blinded by the awesomeness of these images to say anything further.
I hadn’t intended for this to happen, but it seems like my article started with an 80’s cartoon and now it’s finishing with them as well. That is weirdly serendipitous.
………all right then…
Odds and Ends:
- Ha. Claire’s touchdown sound almost says “Gotham”.
- Alexander Olsen State Park. Could this be a reference to the original Swamp Thing?
- You wanna read something that has a hint of old-school comic charm but with an extra dash of the grotesque thrown in for good measure.
If you want to see a super-powered person tear a Spider-Monster-Man in half, then you’ve come to the right place. While I am still adamant that this isn’t the kind of story I’d like to see in the pages of a Batman comic, despite that, I still enjoyed it far more than the first two parts.
SCORE: 7 / 10