Last month Batman and his team discovered the location of the Fortress of Solitude (again), so here we are to see their attempted break-in. Thankfully this issue isn’t as offensive as the last one but it’s certainly not changing my mind about the series. Let’s get into it.
Once again, Fortress flounders because it has no reason to exist. It’s just boring and unnecessary. The more I read, the more I wonder exactly how a series this slight was conceived. Look, I’ve written and drawn enough to know just how difficult it is, but I would like to think if I ever published a comic book it would have a little more thought put into it than this.
Clearly, the pitch of this comic was “Batman must break into the fortress of solitude.” Sounds like a thrilling comic to me. For one issue. Not eight. A simple break-in plot is fine but it just isn’t something that can be stretched this far without more care put toward the rest of the story. That brings me to my big takeaway from this issue, which I think speaks to why I care so little about Fortress. There’s no conflict. I think this is a product of the way the story has been stretched. Breaking into the fortress is an event, not a plot and it seems like the plot was constructed around the event rather than the event naturally occurring as a plot was crafted. We haven’t seen the supposed villains of the story since issue #4. (Remember those three alien guys?) That’s fine because I find them painfully dull, but it really shows how little bearing they have on the development of the plot. The unfortunate thing is, without them, there is very little opposition to the heroes. They do have to pass through security measures and whatnot but knowing they are non-lethal (because they were set up by Superman) definitely takes away some of the tension. Likewise, we haven’t had any kind of reminder of what the stakes of failure are for Batman. At this point, I can’t even remember what the aliens threatened to do.
Once the team is inside the fortress, there are some fun traps to keep me mildly engaged. That’s something I suppose but the characters are also forced to work as a team which eventually breaks the book even more as it becomes clear just how useless most of them are. They each come in handy at least once but it’s all rather contrived. For example, both teammates who can fly lose that ability in order to force Red Arrow to get them across a pit with her bow. Obviously, she was of no value to the team so Whitta manufactured a situation to give her something to do. Why he didn’t just pick characters who made sense for the story, I don’t know.
I’ve honestly run out of things to say about the art. To sum it up, it’s fine; workmanlike and frequently a misfit for the book. If Robertson had something more entertaining to draw maybe I would enjoy it more. There are some pretty cool backgrounds every once in a while (as seen below) but most are left pretty basic and lacking in detail.
Other than that, there isn’t much to critique but also not much to praise.
- You like your Batman comics mid
- You’ve got nothing else to read
- Maybe you’re a big Darick Robertson fan?
I’ve now realized my problem with this comic is in its poorly conceived premise and lack of complexity. Rather than being the climax to a well thought out story, the fortress break-in seems to be where the story germinated. Everything else was written to serve this one idea which has resulted in a book that is lacking in interest. It isn’t worth writing any more words about at this point so hopefully something noteworthy happens in the next two issues. On the other hand, I should be careful what I wish for. I might get it.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.