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@BatWatcher Reviews: @DCComics Red Hood and the Outlaws #18, Batman Incorporated #9, The Dark Knight #18, Talon #6


Here are today's "Guest Reviews" by Jeremy Sims from Batwatch. Included are DC's; Red Hood and the Outlaws #18, Batman Incorporated #9, Batman: The Dark Knight #18 and Talon #6. I have also added my rating after each review. If you have any questions about my rating or want to discuss anything just leave me a comment.


See the Review Rating Overview page for more information on how I rate each comic.



Red Hood and the Outlaws #18 - Last Dance. Last Chance... for Death!


Jason Todd suffered terribly at the hands of The Joker in “DEATH OF THE FAMILY,” and now he’s changing the Outlaws’ mission!


Something is bound to break with all that’s happened…will it be Jason’s soul?


Preview



Requiem

Red Hood and the Outlaws has been pretty consistent at delivering fun stories. Granted, it is not the deepest comic book series on the market, and as some have pointed out, Lobdell's (former writer of Uncanny X-Men and current writer for Red Hood and the Outlaws, Teen Titans, Superboy and Superman strong suit as a writer is not subtlety, but still, I can't think of a single issue of RHATO (minus the Death of the Family crossover issues) that I did not enjoy.

Now, Red Hood faces a major challenge as he has been badly injured by a trap from the Joker. It is unclear how bad the effects will be, but this is still a noteworthy blow against our favorite living, hooded hero. (sorry Green Arrow) Does this issue sear itself into history as a story to remember, or does the whole series lose face from this tale of woe?

In this issue, Jason works through some emotional demons while Bruce deals with some demons of his own.

Red Hood's Requiem

First up, let's examine how this issue addressed the death of Damian and how Robin's death affected Jason and the Outlaws.

The Outlaws

Now that we have exhausted that subject, let's take some time to discuss the Outlaws plot lines in this book. Obviously, Jason will be the main focus of this issue, but no team title is going to ignore their other characters completely for an entire issue, so what happened with Starfire and Arsenal in RHATO #18?

That concludes our discussion of the Outlaws actives in this issue.

Mixed Emotions

As my sarcasm probably made clear, this book suffers from some very dishonest labeling. It has nothing to do with the death of Damian unless you want to interpret Bruce's moping and emotional contemplation as resulting from Damian's death, and that probably does serve a role in Bruce's emotional state, but if you had no clue about Damian's death, this issue would still make complete sense. The lack of the Outlaws is also a pretty major oversight. Personally, I can't stand it when team books, especially ones with such small casts, write off entire characters for whole issues. I'm not asking for a lot; just give me a panel or two showing me what they are doing.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 3/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 3.4



Batman, Incorporated #9 - Fallen Son


The fallout from last month's shocking turn of events has Batman on the run!


Is The Dark Knight a murderer?


Preview



Requiem


What can be said in preparation of this issue that has not already been stated? We lost Damian which most in the Bat community feel to be a tragic loss of a beloved character. I count myself among that number, yet I'm willing to wait see where Morrison (former writer of Rebellion's 2000AD and Batman and current writer of Batman, Incorporated and Action Comics) and the other Bat writers plan to take the story before I cry foul. It's already led to some powerful stories of loss most notably from writer Peter J. Tomasi (former editor of Hitman and current writer for Batman and Robin and Green Lantern Corps) in Batman and Robin, but now we come to the architect of Batman, Incorporated and the murderer of Damian himself, Grant Morrison. What does he have planned for the rest of the series and in this issue in particular? The cover promises a solemn issue, but I have a difficult time picturing Morrison dwelling on Bruce's pain. In his own words, Morrison has promised that Batman will go after Talia like never before, and I'm curious in seeing how that will play out. Also adding to the mystery of this issue is the fact that I never saw a preview. Did I simply miss it, or is DC keeping things under wraps?

Does Batman, Incorporated #9 pay meaningful tribute to the death of Damian, or is this series more interested in the flash and bang of action than the slow burn of grief?

In this issue, Batman and Nightwing battle The Heretic, a funeral is held for Robin, and Squire becomes Knight.

Requiem for Batman, Incorporated

I would say that Batman, Incorporated probably has the best mourning for Damian apart from Batman and Robin. The highlight of the tragedy is the burial of Robin. We see Bruce, Alfred, Dick and Tim carrying the casket to the burial grounds in the rain, and the mood just strikes the right balance of tragic and somber. The way the scene is broken up by other relevant plot details is a bit chaotic, but it actually worked well to establish all the relevant consequences of Batman, Incorporated's recent battle with Leviathan. Bruce's speech over Damian's grave is a bit too stiff for my liking, but it is okay, and Tim's, “Amen,” was a nice touch. Damian's death also has some real interpersonal fallout as well which was well portrayed, and the book ends with yet another powerful scene in memoriam of Damian. If you have any interest seeing the consequences of the death of Damian, you will definitely want to buy this issue.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 3/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 2/5
Layout & Flow - 3/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 2.7



Batman: The Dark Knight #18 - Devil's Bargain


The terrifying tale of the Mad Hatter’s origin continues!


Batman is still two steps behind the Hatter’s current reign of terror…will Catwoman’s interference make it three?


Preview



The Birth of the Mad Hatter


It's time to see what The Dark Knight has cooked up for us this week. I was pleasantly surprised with last week's issue. Whereas I generally find Gregg Hurwitz (former writer of Vengeance of the Moon Knight and Penguin: Pride and Prejudice and current writer of The Dark Knight) stories to be lacking, I actually enjoyed the cat and mouse game between our fearless hero and his short stack villain last time around, and though I know some horrible tragedy is doubtless on its way in the tale of Jervis Tetch's past, I found myself investing in his origin. Ethan Van Sciver's (former artist of Impulse, cover artist for The Fury of Firestorm, and penciler for Superman/Batman and current penciler for The Dark Knight) artwork has also grown on me, and Sciver keeps saying in interviews that something is coming in this arc which is really crazy and that DC almost did not let them do, so that's piqued my interest.

Does The Dark Knight #18 prove that I am mad as a hatter for expecting great things, or does it prove to be an amazing adventure though a dark Wonderland?

In this issue, Batman continues to follow The Mad Hatter down the rabbit hole.

Playing with Expectations

Last issue caught me off guard from the beginning with two moments that played off typical Batman tropes. The first came when Commissioner Gordon turned away from Bats assuming he would disappear only to turn back around to see Bruce still standing there saying, “What?” The second moment came when Bruce referred to his data-mining software as bata-mining only to receive mockery from Alfred on the name. S IHurwitz is pulling our legs regarding the disappearing Batman and the call everything a Bat-object? Alright, I'm game. Batman needs to have his world pulled apart every once and awhile. This sort of meta analysis is a nice little wink to fans who have seen these moves pulled over and over again, and maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but it seems like a little bit of a hint to other writers to move on.

This issue also started with two such moments that kind of poked at the seams of the Bat verse. The first was kind of a two in one as Tweedledee calls Bats on his grand entrance and more or less says, “Oooh, so impressive.” The other part came immediately thereafter as Tweedledee points out that all these amazing take downs Batman does on villains frequently have more drastic effects than what the comic art conveys. The second scene was when Bruce said he was going to approach things stealthily only to take the fight right down the villains throats which I think is meant to dismantle the idea that Bruce is always careful and thought out in his actions.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 3/5
Layout & Flow - 3/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 3.1


Talon #6 - Grandmaster


Batman uncovers more clues about Calvin’s mission in Gotham City…but will he stop The Talon or support him?


Secrets are revealed about Sebastian Clark that could endanger the lives of everyone Calvin cares about!


Preview



A Death-Defying Escape


After seeing my favorite characters, Tim Drake, once more butchered in the pages of Teen Titans, I am looking forward to Talon and James Tynion IV (former writer of Batman and Detective Comics and current writer of Talon) to ease my headache and put my little heart at ease. I've been very happy with Talon thus far, and if anything, the series seems to be getting better with time. I should probably not get my hopes for the series too high since it is but a fledgling, but I think there might be great things in store for it. The last issue left our hero, Calvin Rose, trapped inside an amazing fortress along with a slew of talons and the leader of The Court of Owls. Could Talon finally have the chance to land a mortal wound to the Court? Also, how will Batman play into this arc? From what I've seen of the preview, it appears that this issue is going to be a blast, so I'm strapping in and getting ready to enjoy the ride.

Does Talon #6 prove to be a wonderful escapist adventure, or is this series trapped by bars of its own inflated ambitions?

In this issue, Calvin takes on a trio of talons while The Butcher targets Batman.

Bat Droppings

I greatly enjoyed this issue, but I do not really have any major thoughts to contribute, so I'll do a bunch of little thoughts instead.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 5/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 4.1


Purchase DC Comics
Jeremy Sims is a blogger at https://batwatch.squarespace.com/ and a comic book reviewer at Comic Vine. The use of these reviews has been authorized by the original author.

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