Fortress #3 sees Batman continuing to try and find a solution to the crisis at hand. In the process he searches out a few possible allies. I haven’t been enjoying this comic so far. Has my opinion changed? Well… no. Here’s why!
At this point, I am thoroughly bored with this comic. While that’s the fault of the contents of the book itself there is one outside thing that really drives it home. In an interview, Gary Whitta said “I hope that… we’ve done justice to some of DC’s most iconic characters, while at the same time reinventing everything you thought you knew about them.” These are exactly the things I feel he isn’t achieving.
First, this idea of reinventing these characters. I would not claim this about anyone in this comic outside of (potentially) Superman.
Whitta also claims he wants to do these characters justice and I’m sure he does but so far most of them have nothing to do. Batman is driving this plot while everyone else is chilling off panel. As I said last week, and again this is to an extent a personal thing, putting Batman up against aliens isn’t interesting and it certainly doesn’t do him justice. Batman is a human who fights crime. That is fundamental to his character. Alien invasions are not “Crime” and require something more than a human. So (as we see in this issue) Batman is given an outlandish level of super technology and the genius to create it. I’m not even into the idea of Batman being a member of the Justice League. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Batman has to be a bully and push everyone away. It’s just for me, his best stories are never when he’s at the center of a “superhero” story. By my estimation, Batman has far more in common with a simple “hero.” He isn’t super and that’s what makes him interesting. Putting him in a story like this is just not the way to get that across. Maybe it will to someone else. I can’t make a judgement on that but I have to be clear that this is something that detracts from my enjoyment of the story.
Holographic Batman chewing out the Oans for being a political entity just doesn’t appeal to me.
The plot is equally uninteresting, unfortunately. Nothing really happens in this issue. It is made up of three scenes. Batman talking to Alfred about the threat and making a call, the antagonists searching for superman, and batman meeting a potential ally. That’s it. Each scene goes on for far too long with nothing gained until the very last page of the comic. The plot also feels a little like it’s ripping off Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home (which is great) but maybe that’s just me.
To address the art once more, I am at a point where I really feel like Robertson was simply a bad choice for this comic. His style is focused on gritty action and this is a sci-fi series full of static images. It just doesn’t gel very well. Check out this page:
When he is allowed to play to his strengths the work is fantastic. The man knows how to draw an action scene. His Batman looks aggressive and powerful on this page. Robertson is allowed to work more sequentially as well. This is unlike the rest of the comic which is comprised of reaction shots and dialogue scenes. I’m not saying his work is bad elsewhere, it’s just not very exciting. His strength is not in facial expressions. These are, again, fine, but in a comic that is so dominated by conversation, an artist who specializes in that area would be a better choice. I want to see Robertson take on a book that is action driven. Fortress would be better served by an artist like Scott Godlewski (who I have really grown to love as I review Justice League vs. the Legion of Super-Heroes). His art even has a silver age feel, which could bring a bit more levity to this comic.
- The revelations I mentioned in the spoiler section is something you’re interested in
- You’ll read anything with Batman stamped on the cover
- Everyone’s taste in Batman comics is different and this may appeal to you more than it does me
If you can’t tell, this was a rather frustrating comic to review. Boring comics are incredibly difficult to write about because you have to unpack and attempt to analyze something that doesn’t interest you. If I wasn’t reviewing this, I certainly wouldn’t be reading it and I wouldn’t have anything more to say about it than “It’s not for me.” This is of course nothing personal against Gary Whitta. I’m sure he’s a good guy. He may have written some other comic that I would enjoy more and maybe this comic is something that will connect to you on some level. Hopefully my review, despite being negative, can also reveal that side of things. For me, this is a comic that needs a major course correction in some way or my opinion has no hope of changing.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided a copy of this issue for the purpose of this review.