The first two issues of the current arc have been great. The creative team is putting a lot of effort into developing David’s character, as well as fleshing out the drama that revolves around him. I’m eager to get into issue #9, so let’s just have ourselves a look!
The character work continues to be fantastic. The characters are well-written, their voices and actions authentic to who they are supposed to be, and their actions create drama naturally, rather than the drama being forced on them in some way. What I like especially about this month’s issue is the dynamic between David and Superman. On the one hand, David needs to learn not only the limits of his powers, but also the responsibility that comes with them—how far can he go in order to stop a villain or save a life? On the other hand, Superman is trying to figure out how to mentor David, because he doesn’t have a lot of past experience with that sort of thing. All of this leads to a moment where Superman has to reprimand David for his actions, but just as Superman wants to let David know that he only wants what’s best for him, their interaction is cut short by trouble in Gotham. This creates interesting, unresolved conflict between the two of them, and at this point I can only guess how David is going to deal with that, and what’s going to happen next because of it, and I’m invested.
Batman also mentors David, but Batman’s approach is completely different from Superman’s. While the interaction between Superman and David is more emotional, Batman is trying to teach David a more stoic state of mind, logic over heart, controlling the emotions. I enjoy this little bit, but it isn’t as well developed as David and Superman’s dynamic. In fact, it seems like Batman is taking a bit of a backseat in this comic. That’s not to say that he isn’t doing anything heroic or interesting, because he is absolutely doing those things, but he simply isn’t in the spotlight like David and Superman. If that’s what the story needs, then that’s fine, but I’d like to see Batman contribute a bit more than simply telling David to be more stoic.
The characters I’m not really a fan of yet are the villains. There just isn’t very strong chemistry between Joker and The Key, even though it feels like the comic is trying to create that. Their team-up seems almost random, despite them having particular skill sets and schemes that they are supposed to be carrying out together. Furthermore, The Key is still completely in Joker’s shadow. If you were to ask me anything about him based on what I’ve read here, I could only tell you a few basic things such as his power and his looks, but other than that I’m still not entirely sure who he is. All things considered, I think The Key is a significantly weaker villain than Joker in terms of how well-written and well-established he is within the context of this particular story.
All of that being said, the comic is structured really well. At first David’s struggles and lessons seem to just keep getting intercut by scenes with Key and Joker, but the issue does a pretty good job of lining up these different plot threads that lead to a pretty great cliffhanger.
Of course Mora and Bonvillain are once again putting out amazing work. The characters and colors are so expressive—even though they look rather cartoony, there’s more life and emotion and energy to these characters than most realistic comic book artwork, or any type of comic book artwork, for that matter. We get plenty of action, diverse locations (from the open sea to Gotham and various interiors), and great page layouts. The only thing that I think is a bit much is the fact that all of Gotham—once again—is threatened with destruction. Mora and Bonvillain draw the hell out of these sequences, but even their unique styles can’t prevent these visuals from looking way too similar to countless of images that we’ve seen in previous Batman comics.
- You’re looking for a comic book with strong character work.
- All of Gotham is in danger yet again—but Mora and Bonvillain are drawing it!
- David’s character arc intrigues you.
Overall: Once again Waid, Mora and Bonvillain put out a strong issue. The character work is pretty great, the artwork even greater, and the story as a whole is very well structured and paced. Stuff like all of Gotham being threatened for the umpteenth time doesn’t bother me as much here as it does in other books, but I’m still not a huge fan, especially not when both Joker and Key aren’t that interesting for me in this story. The good far outweighs the bad, though, and I recommend you get this book while it’s hot!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.