Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Batman Gazette Batman Dead
Nicieza, Nguyen, March, Chriscross, McKelvie, Konat & McKenna
This issue begins the Battle for the Cowl or at least comics with the Battle for the Cowl banner on them. This issue really is a bit of a preview issue involving some fringe characters in Gotham. In some ways, you can see the direct connections to some of the coming series, like Azrael. The issue is pretty good but we won’t really know how good it is until we see these characters rooted in the event. At this point it’s probably for the completists for the event only.
The first item to take note of is that the art is shared among some six artists and two colorists and yet it seemed barely noticeable upon the first pass through the book. I was actually surprised to see so many names in the art credits at the end. Sure, you could see one or two styles pop out but not that many. Niceieza is the only writing credit and he clearly set a steady art direction throughout the book.
The comic tells four short stories about four characters that have connections to Batman on the fringe level at best. We get stories about Vicki Vale, Stephanie Brown, Leslie Thompkins and Harvey Bullock all wrapped around a couple of pages of The Veil.
For Bullock we’ve seen him in a lot of Batman stories and his involvement seems to have roots in one of the upcoming solicited series so this story is a setup. It’s interesting, but more than that it helps to establish the crime that Bullock is tracking.
The Stephanie Brown story seems to just pull this character back into the forefront rather than just lingering in the Robin title. It’s really a story used to just set up her frame of mind and inform readers of who she is and how she ended up where she is.
The two stories about Vicki Vale and Leslie Thompkins are interesting because I can’t remember the last time either one was a relevant fixture in a Batman series. I thought this was a good vehicle back into the fold quickly and not forcefully.
The comic is well constructed and tells something interesting about each of the four characters. The piece involving The Veil probably had the least clear line to Batman. I think at the end of the Battle for the Cowl event we’ll see just how these characters fair. If they end up playing minor or no roles than you will know this comic was a throwaway, but if they have some role to play in it then this issue will help to kick start who they are and what they care about. At this point I would say you can probably pass on it unless you want the complete event.
3 out of 5 geek goggles