Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Batman: The Dark Knight #23.1 (Ventriloquist)
Simone & Santacruz
In another strange move by DC editorial, they take a character and a writer from one book (Batgirl) and throw them into an unrelated book: Batman The Dark Knight. Beyond the odd placement of the writer and character, the comic book has plenty of dark ideas as well as a bunch of head-scratching missteps. Overall, you end up with a very strange comic book.
Simone explores the new version of the Ventriloquist in this issue. Basically she holds an old theater hostage and entices the cold and hungry with free food and power where the entire city is black. While she manages to attract some innocents, she also lures in some crooks that create some havoc.
Simone defines the character by building up tension and revealing the sinister mind of the character as the issue unfolds. I like the way she builds the issue up in this manner. It’s not a straight-up origin story. The comic book is definitely a horror one and it is a pretty good one at that.
The drawbacks is that Simone puts characters in situations that make no logical sense. The scenes where her childhood friends are dying off are difficult to follow, especially the accident on the swing set. Also, the character that the puppet chases into room is another tough one to understand. I’m just not buying that a killer puppet chases a man into a room and his urge, once in the room, is to read letters he finds on the floor. The book has too many bizarre scenes like this one for my tastes.
The cover is excellent. Make no mistake, this 3D cover is as good as it gets. It might not be better than the Joker one but it is more creepy and definitely rich with 3D action and visuals. The interior art is also very good. The story is a dark and deranged one and the interiors make the story feel that way. The pencils are detailed and the colors add depth and make the book look the part of a horror flick. The art definitely helps this comic book flow well.
The character of the Ventriloquist is an interesting one. She’s a bit deeper than the previous incarnation and Simone knows how to build up a villain well. The comic book has a lot of strange turns in the storytelling and that holds it back. Overall, as a throwaway comic this one is pretty good and those readers of Batgirl definitely need to pick this up because of the character development. I mildly recommend this book for the casual fan, but the hardcore Batman or Batgirl fans will want to track this down.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles