1/01/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Titan Books. 128 page hardback graphic novel. Price: £10.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84856-507-4.
You'll have to forgive for not including the five writers and six artists in the title line. To list just one of each as representative is hardly likely to be justified. After all, there are five stories included here showing the effects on various characters after the Batman's recent demise. As such there's a divergence of material but none of the art is jarring and used to great effect.
'A Day In Cold Hell' written by Royal McGraw and artist Tom Mandrake has Commissioner Gordon kidnapped by Mister Freeze who thinks that because the Batman is gone that there will be no left to stop him. Without wishing to spoil the ending, I do wish it had ended up as more a battle of wits mostly cos Gordon isn't the same person as the man in the cowl.
Man-Bat is a different kettle of bat...so to speak. In 'I Am Whatever You Say I Am' by writer Joe Harris and artist Jim Colofiore, Kirk Langstrom is having an identity crisis with his alter-ego when he runs into Phosphorus, who has kidnapped his wife, Francine. Definitely caught between a rock and a hot place.
I think my favourite has to be the mid-story, 'The Place Where Beauty Lies' by writer David Hine and artist Jeremy Haun where Dr. Jeremiah Arkham returns to the burnt-down Asylum to find three 'guests' whom he protected from the more criminally insane in an underground vault. Their stories are especially touching and marked with pathos, although there's a subtle joke at the end.
'The Underground' by writer Chris Yost and artist Pablo Roimondi focuses more on the war between Two-Face and the Penguin when the latter tries to get the Riddler involved in finding a solution to his problems. Strictly speaking, this is actually the 'B' story as we follow Catwoman's encounter with Two-Face and then with the new armed Batman who sees her as the enemy.
'The Network' by writer Fabian Niciezo and artists Jim Colofiore and Don Kromer, inked by Mark McKenna, has Oracle organising her troops to take on the criminal population.
There is plenty in here to cover everyone's taste although Gotham City is definitely going to have a massive insurance claim if anyone makes it out to the top. If you missed the individual issues, having them in a collected volume has to be a good way to own it.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA