I wasn’t a fan of the previous issue. To me, the characters weren’t fleshed out enough; themes weren’t explored in a lot of depth so it remained surface level; and the action wasn’t very exciting. This is a 6-issue miniseries, and now we’re halfway with #3. I think the creative team can still turn things around and tell a strong story, but if things don’t take off after this third issue, I’m not sure if the creative team will succeed. So, let’s jump in and have a look.
I have very similar complaints this month. First of all, I’m just not a fan of how this story is structured. The majority of the issue is essentially another collection of static scenes, in which we see characters sitting on chairs or standing around, talking. Not only does that make for boring visuals, but it also makes it harder for me to engage with the material. I feel like the comic is making us wait for this one cool thing to happen, but at this stage I’m just not confident that the comic will be able to deliver, and I’m also just running out of patience.
It would be one thing if these static scenes were really well-drawn, but more often than not I find that the artwork in this particular issue is very loose and kind of sketchy. Some details aren’t fleshed out, and the art even looks kind of rough and almost unfinished at times. The art style has always been loose, but in #1 and #2 it was clear to me that that was just Raffaele’s style. In this issue it just doesn’t look as good. Moreover, facial structures change slightly from panel to panel, which is rather distracting to me. I do think that the facial expressions are still pretty good, though, as they really show us the characters’ emotions. I also think that Anderson’s muted colors establish an appropriately moody atmosphere that just sets a good tone for the story.
Another concern that I have is the fact that different plots and character arcs just remain so superficial. It’s like Ridley is trying to put too many ideas into this one limited series. He’s trying to write about racism; corruption; crime; addiction; among others. These are all interesting themes to explore in a series like this, but they’re all fighting for the spotlight rather than complementing each other. For example, the theme of racism is absolutely worthy of exploration, but so far I’m not sure what the book is trying to say about it other than, “Racism is bad.” Of course there’s nothing inherently wrong with that statement, but it’s also a very complex topic that deserves more attention and discussion beyond that statement, and the same can be said for the other themes. I can only hope that subsequent issues will further flesh out these themes.
One other gripe that I have is the fact that Ridley writes Renee as very unlikeable. I get that she’s trying to deal with her problems, but if Ridley is actively making her this unlikeable, I find it hard to even root for her to get better. Whenever she appears in a scene, I just sigh and hope it doesn’t go on for too long. Ridley’s writing for the character is just not on par with how Rucka used to write her, so I’m not sure if fans of the character will enjoy this book very much.
- You don’t mind static comics about people sitting in chairs.
- At least some of the characters are interesting to you.
- Renee’s goldfish is all that matters.
Overall: I don’t like how static this issue is; I think the various themes are fighting for dominance instead of complementing each other; and I think that the art looks kind of rushed. I’m crossing my fingers that the second half of this storyline will pick up, but as it stands I can’t recommend this issue. Its biggest offense is simply that it’s kind of boring.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.