This fortress has collapsed under its own weight. Not that it was ever particularly sturdy to begin with but at this point, it isn’t holding whatsoever. I’ve only given what I consider a positive review to one issue, so it doesn’t matter how good this latest release is, the book as a whole is not recommendable. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on this penultimate issue.
Last month we ended on a “shocking cliffhanger!” Batman is falling to his death into a bottomless pit. How will he survive? Lazy writing, that’s how. Red Arrow shoots him through the shoulder with an arrow and pulls him back up.
No way. There’s a limit to my suspension of disbelief, even in comics, and this has firmly broken it. At best, if Red Arrow was properly braced, the arrow would rip right back out of Batman’s body. At worst, she would be pulled over the edge too. 250 pounds falling at a high velocity is going to move a 100-pound person standing erect. That’s elementary school physics. To make matters worse, Batman is extremely impressed by this (why? What is impressive about that?) and goes as far as inviting her to become his sidekick! I guess we’re just ignoring the fact that two issues ago she was murdering people for money. This isn’t the only weird moment of forgetfulness. It’s clear that Whitta cares very little for the continuity of his own comic. At one point Lex says, referring to Superman, “I never said he wasn’t smart. I said he wasn’t as smart as me.” That didn’t sound right to me, so I went back and checked last month’s issue.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on Jackson Hyde randomly showing up to save the team. Sure a (weak) explanation is given for how he escaped the bindings he was trapped in (“they were just gone all of a sudden”) but that doesn’t explain how he got into the room that Batman and the others needed rescuing from.
Once the team gets through the obstacles, (I also take some issue with the excessive number of booby traps in the fortress, how noncreative most of them are, how easy they all are to overcome, and how lethal some of them are) we are treated to a massive exposition dump explaining the whole series. Because nothing has been built up so far, the story now has to be smashed into the last two issues. That out of the way, the team finally finds Superman, dead or in a Kryptonian healing chamber.It’s left unclear but I assume the reader is supposed to think he’s dead. Then again, he’s very much alive on the cover of issue eight; I don’t think anyone is being fooled.
I guess my basic gripe is that the quality of the storytelling is weak across the board. It feels like there is no thought put into why or when things happen. Everything has a sort of “first draft” feel to it. Almost like the whole series was written on the fly. That results in a lot of tonal confusion as well. The early issues were dark and gritty but now every release is moving closer and closer to camp. I’ll admit it’s nicer to read now but I have a hard time figuring out what to feel.
The art doesn’t help with that. It’s still going for the gritty feel. That’s just Robertson’s style. Unfortunately, he is also being stretched to breaking point trying to finish this series without a delay or fill-in artist. Everything is starting to look sloppy and there are a few very unfortunate panels.
I don’t have anything more to say about the art at this point. Robertson is a good artist but he should only work on bimonthly projects. He can’t produce his best work consistently on a monthly schedule.
- You aren’t discerning
- You like Green Lanterns squirrels and bickering characters
- There are a couple of cool art peices
This isn’t the worst comic I’ve ever read but it’s possibly the most “whatever.” What little interest I did have at any point has evaporated and I’m left looking forward to the end so I can move on and never think about it again. If I wasn’t assigned this book, I would have dropped it after issue one or two and saved myself the frustration. Since that isn’t an option, here’s my consensus: please read Detective Comics instead.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this issue for the purposes of this review.