The title fight is here! Batman is going to V the ever-loving bejesus out of Snake Eyes. Right? Right!? I’m sure at least a couple people out there are pumped about it. As for myself, if this fight is even a little fun, I’ll forgive DC for letting Donald Mustard, my enemy, illustrate a Batman cover. Read on to find out how it turns out.

STORY

WHAT?! Batman and Snake Eyes don’t even have a gen-u-ine knockdown drag-out? But, I trusted you, Mustard! I was willing to let bygones be bygones for making what could have been a fun breezy concept unnecessarily bogged down in a quagmire of Fortnite game world conceits and convolutions. All you had to do was let Batman fight Snake Eyes! You even tweeted: “Be warned… seeing the awesomeness of Batman fighting Snake Eyes may melt your face!!!”

How is a spinning, mechanized, arm-mounted, battle axe non-lethal, Bats?

My face is not melted, Donald. Ugh. Okay, so before I get accused of sensationalizing. Batman technically fights Snake Eyes, for most of the issue even. That is, if your definition of a fight is a slide show montage of still images overlaid with exposition about just how darned good they are at fighting. But let’s move away from the main event for now, I’ll discuss the fight in more detail in the art section. 

Let’s talk about that exposition. This entire issue is filled with it. It made me begin to grow nostalgic for Batman’s constant droning inner monologue in the previous issues. Almost. At least that is better than reading an expository direct message session between two unknown employees of… whatever mysterious organization is behind all the battling and the royaling. 

This aforementioned DM convo — made up entirely of James Tynion IV levels of exposition, which the comic frames as “interoffice memos” — gibbers on and on about how damned rad and totally beautiful Batman and Snake Eyes’ fight is while the fight itself, again, is barely more than a series of Powerpoints… Mustard and company should have had the gumption to leave the issue wordless. I think it would have gone a long way in making this issue even a little entertaining.

The whole affair reminds me of how in old pulpy novels like the works of H.P. Lovecraft (though it still happens in some so-bad-it’s-bad pop-lit like the works of Ernest Cline or E.L. James) where the writer just sort of throws their hands up with regards to the description and says “It was, like, utterly indescribable! Guess you just had to be there my dude!”.

There’s also a stinger at the end that you’ll most likely have seen coming from several light-years away.

ART

Alright, now back to the fight. Be warned, the fight breakdown is going to be mildly spoilerific. Panel for panel, we get the Dark Knight exchanging blows with a shadowy figure. Followed by a splash page reveal that said shadowy figure is Snake Eyes. Followed by a few more action panels and then a film-reel like percussive series of shadowy/undetailed mini panels that only cover about a third of a page of the two going at it. Check out the bit in question below:

I’ve never really cared for Reilly Brown’s slightly cartoonish generic style invoked with the pencils — but at least Nelson Faro DeCastro’s inks and John Kalisz’s colors have made it palatable… until this fight. I’m not sure what went wrong, but the panels in this “fight” are sloppy, muddled, and sketch-like. It is genuinely baffling that what should be arguably the centerpiece of the issue looks like someone quickly sketched it on the back of a napkin. On top of that, Kalisz’s colors are flat and uninteresting and DeCastro’s inks only further exacerbate the sketch-y-ness.

I pulled some panels from a backup in Batman #23 (2013) drawn by Rafael Albuquerque and colored by Dave McCaig to illustrate what I mean. Sure, not every knockdown drag-out should be this brutal; but the impacts are felt, the force and momentum behind them are clear, and the colors and panel layout build upon or transition into each other wonderfully. Now go back and look at the panels from Batman/Fortnite: ZP #3. They’re floaty and lacking impact. It’s like these two are teleporting, in space, attached to cheesy movie wire harnesses. The panels also completely fail to transition or build on each other. I mean, just look at the panel of Batman kicking Snake Eyes, only for SE to inexplicably grab hold of the Dark Knight’s arm and throw him. And what even is that panel of Batman showing his fist to the fourth wall? It looks less like a POV of getting punched by him and more like he wants a fistbump.

Recommended if…

  • You (albeit briefly) want to see Batman fight with an arm-mounted battle axe
  • You’ve always wanted to see Batman and Snake Eyes grasp arms like Arnold and Carl Weathers in Predator
  • Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend this issue. Even to my worst enemy, Donald Mustard

OVERALL

Overall, this issue is the standard Hero v Hero until they put aside their differences and work together against the real villain. Too bad the real villain isn’t something either can defeat: sloppy storytelling and big exploitative company tie-ins. Maybe that’s why Batman tried to punch his way out of this comic. If I were him, I’d probably give it a try too.

Score: 2/10
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Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.