Batman’s been Memento’d! He has only the fragmented messages he leaves himself every twenty two minutes and his analytical mind to solve the mystery that is Fortnite! Will he be able to solve it? (Yes.) Or will his feelings for this mysterious woman dressed like a cat hold him back? (No.) Let’s hop in and find out.

STORY 

Batman is still stuck in Fortnite, Live. Die. Repeat-ing again and again, losing his memory with each repeat. Also, Catwoman is there. Harley too. And she does the floss! Sigh. This is a story about Batman literally being stuck in the game Fortnite ya’ll. If you find that concept interesting then maybe you can find something to like about this series. So far, I cannot. Batman trying to figure out the mechanics of Fortnite as he gets Groundhog Day’d every near-half-hour just doesn’t do it for me. I mean, Christos Gage is doing his best, and his inner monologue of Batman’s greymatter gears whirring captures the character’s voice well enough, but even that isn’t enough to pull me into this even a bit. 

I’ve always been in the camp (a minority, I think) that believes Batman shouldn’t even have an inner monologue/thought captions. I know it’s fairly common in the noir/pulpy roots of the character, but it’s just too easy to screw up. There’s a reason Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories only had a handful of yarns from the POV of Sherlock himself: he’s supposed to be A LOT smarter than the reader. Someone that impossibly clever needs a Watson, or in Batman’s case, a Robin (or at least a third person POV). The point is: Poor Christos has been forced — by my enemy, Donald Mustard — to write entirely in Batman’s inner monologue. Remember, he can’t speak. And like I said, he’s doing his best to make this all work. But it isn’t, at least not for me. And it isn’t his fault, it’s the dumb concept. Mustard’s concept.

MUSTAAARD!

The frustrating thing is, the concept isn’t inherently dumb. It’s just dumb when applied to Fortnite. Batman being stuck in, say, a Dark Souls game and trying to figure out how the Kingdom of Lordran/Lothric works as he dies over and over again sounds delightful. Hell, even Batman tossed into a Nintendo game could be a fun time. But Fortnite’s game mechanics are just too basic (not a bad thing for actually playing the game) to give a storyline centered around Batman puzzling them out any narrative weight.

Captivating…

The whole story is Batman and Catwoman running around —  amnesic and mute — from storm circle to storm circle measuring the safe zones and puzzling out how it all works, while occasionally getting shot by Fornite characters. Characters that can’t add anything to the story, because they aren’t really even characters. They’re skins. Sure, the fan community does its best to give them a modicum of backstory and whatnot but the game itself gives you zilch. The same goes for this comic.

So we’re left with a story where no one can talk, stranding us in Batman’s inner monologue as he puzzles out the bare-bones mechanics of a Battle Royale game while all the other zero-dimensional characters mindlessly shoot each other. Oh, also its emotional core thus far is more Bat/Cat romance. Cool. Snake Eyes next chapter though right?

ART

Nelson Faro DeCastro’s inks and John Kalisz’s colors — especially Kalisz’s colors — are still the most enjoyable part of this comic. I’m still not a fan of the cartoonish style, but it at least fits well with the Fortnite aesthetic. 

That’s a very muscular cat.

There are some fun Half-Splashes like the one above showing off the various Fortniters getting whooped.

This iteration of Batman definitely has copious, copious, back hair.

I do have one criticism of the art this time ‘round. And this is absolutely a nitpick. But why did DeCastro have to make Batman so hairy? This isn’t Wolverine for Baal’s sake.  Between the hair that goes entirely up his arm — and presumably keeps going on forever — and the impossibly wide chin, this Batman is increasingly looking more Neanderthal Bat-Man of Neal Adam’s Odyssey than the Dark Knight.

Recommended if…

  • You need them Bat-themed Fortnite skins…
  • Muscular cats and hairy bats are your thing.
  • You’re still willing to shell out real monies to watch Batman wham-pow some Fortnite folks.

OVERALL

Even with all my jeers and nitpicks, I can tell that this isn’t a poorly executed comic. My heart goes out to the writer and the artists. My old foe, the evil (probably), Donald Mustard has entrapped them with a fundamentally broken concept. They’re doing their best. But I don’t think you should buy this comic unless you absolutely have to have those sweet sweet Batman skins.

At least Mustard’s Batman isn’t covered in fur.

A sketch (above) that Donald Mustard put up on Twitter to celebrate the release of issue #2 and an erudite response by a young Fortnite fan really sheds light on the strengths and weaknesses of this comic, as well as answers the burning question: who’s this for? Is it a corporate circle… erm, mutual admiration society? Or a brilliant work of outsider art? Take it away @Watercup:

Score: 5/5


 

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.