Last month, I complained that the story of Sins of the Father isn’t moving quickly enough but reassured readers that there’s plenty of action to enjoy and Batman is just as smart and capable as we expect him to be. Unfortunately, in issue #4, the pace doesn’t pick up, there isn’t any action and Bruce starts acting incredibly dumb.
Batman: The Telltale Series has received a lot of praise for giving Bruce Wayne and Batman equal importance and screen-time and Sins of the Father has mostly followed the same pattern. That isn’t the case this month as the dark knight persona is side-lined in favour of his billionaire alter ego. Plus, rather than act the suave playboy, Bruce decides to tackle Lawton as his true self, albeit dressed in a nice blue suit, and plays all his cards without a moment’s hesitation. I understand that he’s met his match in this dangerous, intelligent opponent, and share his frustration, but I can’t believe that Bruce would let his guard down so quickly. Often when I read a Batman story, I get a feeling akin to reading a Sherlock Holmes tale; awe at the great detective and comfort in knowing his skills and willpower are such that he will win the day. Gage’s Wayne is harder to spend time with because I’m confident I could out-think him without trying very hard at all. No wonder Lawton spends so much of this issue smiling to himself.
Disappointingly, Deadshot isn‘t very engaging either. Turning him into a rich, disciplined doppelganger for Batman offered a golden opportunity to explore the caped crusader’s psyche through the lens of a man who’s not so different to him and vice versa. Earlier issues made great headway with this but here Lawton is revealed to be just another sociopath. He might be like Bruce on the surface but they aren’t at all alike on the inside.
The other major problem with issue #4 is that it’s mostly a re-tread of information we were given in issue #3. Once again, we’re told the story of Floyd Lawton’s troubled youth, complete with flashback artwork, which consumes an inordinate amount of space in the book. If anyone was concerned that 6 issues is too few for Gage to tell his story, they need not worry; it seems that plot is in short supply and issue #4 ends up stuffed with unnecessary padding.
It’s not Ienco’s best issue, either. Due to the content of the story, he’s not given particularly interesting events to depict and of the two occasions he gets to draw Batman this month, one of them features an awful, unnatural-looking cape and the other involves the weird layout gracing the cover, in which he’s apparently about to be shot while his superimposed alter ego turns his back in disapproval. Then there’s the shot above of Bruce looking very strange and off-model indeed. However, throughout the rest of the book, the faces are incredibly consistent with authentic expressions and Lawton as a child bears an impressive resemblance to his older, bearded self. Plus, there’s the hallmark of the series; Ienco’s phenomenal attention to detail on guns, laptops, lamps, furniture and brickwork.
- You need a recap of Lawton’s Telltale origin.
- You don’t mind an inconsistent portrayal of Bruce Wayne.
- You enjoy Ienco’s artwork no matter how pedestrian the subject matter is.
Overall: Issue #4 treads water and builds up the series’ villain by diminishing the faculties of it’s hero. There’s some tense conversation and dramatic revelations but the issue lacks the sophistication of previous instalments.