It’s time for the bachelorette party! Selina and her chiquitas are headed out for a night of debauchery and dancing, and—true to form—Batman wants to keep an eye on his family. Red Hood is on the case, and after thwarting some would-be terrorists, he’s tipped to something much bigger. On the eve of stability in the house of Batman, Anarky reigns!

A decent story on its own

I think that Batman marrying Catowman is a good idea. It shows growth in both characters, and it solidifies Bruce as a believer in redemption. I don’t generally think that tie-ins to major events and arcs are a good idea, because they’re usually terrible, but so far, these Prelude books have been alright. Red Hood vs. Anarky is no exception.

Jason tails Selina and her friends as they head to a strip club, while atop the club, a group of “anti-feminist” men prepare to bring the evening to an explosive end. If you’re recoiling at the terminology, and you think Seeley is going to make things political, then take heart—he might surprise you before it’s all over.

With a little help from a hologram of Bizarro (if you aren’t reading Red Hood and the Outlaws, you might be a little lost here, but that’s your fault for passing on an excellent book), Jason tracks the trail of terror to Anarky, which is not a spoiler, because he’s on the cover in name and visage, so it’s kind of obvious. Try to keep up.

The two have an altercation of words and ideas, and in the end, Seeley leaves hanging the suggestion that perhaps Anarky is not all that different than Jason. This doesn’t stop the former Robin from winning—with violence—but it is some interesting food for thought for us readers.

Javier Fernandez’s lines have some moments of inconsistency, but his layouts are just outstanding. This is a book that takes very little effort to get through, and that’s as much to Fernandez’s credit as anyone else’s. Hugo Petrus fills in for a few pages, and while there is a discernible aesthetic shift (particularly on a shot of Selina), the book continues to move nicely. Most readers likely won’t notice the change.

Colors come courtesy of John Kalisz, perhaps best known at DC for coloring much of Patrick Gleason’s work in the past several years. There’s quite a lot of subtle rendering, but he eschews reflective lighting effects most of the time—a choice that I think works well with Fernandez’s work especially.

Letterer Dave Sharpe does a fine job, too. Given the tie-in to the main Batman book, and the likelihood that this will one day share a deluxe hardcover with issues from that series, Sharpe is wise to go for a similar aesthetic in his dialogue type to what Clayton Cowles is using in Batman lately—in fact, I think he might be using the exact same principal font. He still makes it his own, trading Cowle’s more ovular balloons for rounded rectangular designs, but the feel of the text is nevertheless consistent across the main book and this tie-in, and I think that’s a very good thing.

Recommended if…

  • You want to see the impact of Batman’s impending nuptials on two of the more confused, conflicted people in his sphere.

Overall

Red Hood vs. Anarky is hardly essential reading, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time. Nobody will be talking about its significance in continuity in five weeks, much less five years, but it is nevertheless a very well-put-together book that more than earns its price tag. If you’ve got a few bucks to spare this week, you could do a lot worse.

SCORE: 7.5/10