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@BatWatcher Reviews: @DCComics Batwing #20, Detective Comics #20, Batman #20, Batman and Red Hood #20


Here are today's "Guest Reviews" by Jeremy Sims from Batwatch. Included are DC's; Batwing #20, Detective Comics #20, Batman #20, and Batman and Red Hood #20. 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.



Batwing #20 - Batwing V. 2.0: Welcome to the Family


This issue answers the question that’s been on everyone’s mind: Who is Batwing?


Preview



To Face His First and Most Deadly Foe!


Batwing is dead! Long live Batwing! At least that seems to be the attitude encouraged by DC regarding this series. Sure, David Zavimbe was not exactly killed off, but he was certainly put to rest while he was still in his prime, and I'm not completely sure if I'm willing to accept a brand new Batwing.

At the same time, Luke Fox does seem like an intriguing character. As far as we know, he has grown up without any real tragedy. He is not a character motivated by a lust for vengeance but rather he is motivated by a lust for adventure and a desire to help his fellow man, or at least this is the impression I've garnered from interviews of the new creative team, Jimmy Palmiotti (former inker for Jonah Hex and writer for Power Girl and current writer for Batwing, The Human Bomb, All-Star Western, and Ame-Comi Girls) and Justin Gray. (former writer for Jonah Hex and Power Girl and current writer for Batwing, Ame-Comi Girls, The Human Bomb and All-Star Western) It would definitely be refreshing to see a member of the Bat Clan who could lighten up the stodgy and dark atmosphere.

I could probably spend another hour speculating on the potential of this new Batwing, but it's time for speculation to end and for reality to take its rightful place. Does Luke Fox do justice to and even surpass the legacy of David Zavimbe or is this new and improved Batwing a feeble replacement for our retired African warrior?

In this issue, Batwing goes after the Marabunta militia and we learn more about our new hero.

Straight for the Jugular

After last issue, I opened these pages expecting to see Batman approaching and recruiting Luke Fox and Luke slowly getting involved with his first major scuffle. Well, screw that! Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray do not bother with a slow build and instead make this issue an action packed thrill ride by starting six months into Batwing's career.

The issue starts with a bang and continues firing throughout. Our first glimpse of Batwing this issue features him already in a scrap with several dozen armored warriors and one armored behemoth. After several pages, the action does slow down a bit to develop Luke as a character and explain, via well timed flashbacks, who Luke is and how he got to this point in his life though many elements of Luke's past are still shadowed, and this is an aspect of the story which will no doubt continue to be unveiled for many issues to come. Even during the more plot based moments in this issue, action is never more than a page away. The entire back half of the issue is an extended fight scene, yet we learn much about Luke's thinking and fighting style throughout, so it is not a brainless slug fest as often occurs in these sorts of extended battles.

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 - 5/5
Verdict - 4.6
 - (Buy Batwing #20)


Detective Comics #20 - King For a Day; Empire of the Son


The superhuman transformation of Ignatius Ogilvy is just the tip of the iceberg when an extremely unexpected character comes to The Penguin’s aid! And in the backup story, Emperor Penguin makes a trip to Blackgate Prison he won’t soon forget!


Preview



Emperor Penguin Unchained!


It's time for more na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na na, Batman! Introductions like that are why I should not write intros right after waking up.

John Layman (current writer of Image's Chew, IDW's Mars Attacks and Detective Comics) has been a blast on Detective Comics, and though we actually have several extremely talented writers working on Bat books these days, I think Layman is my favorite. I'm delighted that he delivers a more or less finished story in every book while building larger arcs between books. It's must be a delicate balance to write, but the satisfaction of having a completed case in each issue makes it well worth the extra work. Now, we are at the conclusion of the Emperor Penguin story arc, and somehow, our beloved thug who made it to the big time goes from being a trim classy looking guy with a bad haircut to a blue, muscle bound brute with a bad haircut. It looks like some twists are in store for both us and Batman in this issue, and I'm not completely convinced that I am on board with those twists, but I am intrigued.

Does Emperor Penguin feel the cold hard hand of justice do does this story leave readers out in the cold?

In this issue, Penguin is set free and Batman takes on a mutated Emperor Penguin, and in the backup, we find out more about Ogilvy's past.

A Justification for Big Blue

My biggest concern going into this issue was how Ogilvy transformed from a run of the mill human to a big blue meta-human bruiser. I originally thought that his transformation was going to be a by prodcut of Penguin's plan for revenge. You know, it could have run the typical, “Let's kill him by dunking him in a vat of experimental characters. Oh no! He's transforming!” That scenario has been done countless times, so I was hoping it would not be the case here. Alternatively, it seemed like a possibility that Ogilvy might have always been a meta-human, and he might have kept it a secret in order to appear as a non-threat, but if that were the case, the Ogilvy would have had a secret advantage the whole time he made his play for Gotham, so it would have made his success slightly less impressive.

Thankfully, the real scenario turned out to fit neither of these templates. Rather than his mutation being something that happened to Ogilvy, Ogilvy was the driving force behind these mutations. Many of the pieces that had been left dangling throughout the story were all tied up in Ogilvy's transformation for he was secretly trying to test out various chemical enhancers over these past six issues. His final form was caused from a mix of Man-Bat formula, venom and some plant mutation by Poison Ivy. I know for certain that Poison Ivy and the Man-Bat formula were shown in the comics, and I believe Ogilvy also hit STAR Labs in a past issue which is where he stole the venom, so it was rather nice that the clues were laid out before us the entire time. By transforming himself, Ogilvy just solidifies himself as a self-determined and fearsome villain willing to do whatever it take to hold on to power.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 4
 - (Buy Detective Comics #20)


Batman #20 - Nowhere Man, Part 2 of 2; Ghost Lights, Part 2 of 2


A strange visitor comes to Gotham City when tragedy delivers the team-up you’ve been asking for since the start of The New 52!


Preview



The Dark Knight Battles... Bruce Wayne?!


Tis time for another thrilling tale of Batman as written from the pen (keyboard) of Scott Snyder. Snyder, (former writer for Detective Comics and Vertigo's American Vampire and current writer of Batman and Talon) as we all know, has been tearing it up on Batman ever since the launch of the DCNU with some massive story arcs, but Batman #19 and #20 represent the first time he has slowed thing down and told a shorter, if not less intense, story. Last issue started with a bang showing us Bruce Wayne wearing a Batman costume and tearing through a line of cops to commit acts of terror. A flashback brought us up to speed and revealed that the master molder Clayface is to blame for “Bruce's” crime spree. Apparently, Clayface has evolved to be able to transform on a cellular level which makes him more of a threat than ever to Batman. The last panel of Batman #19 left us with the monstrous image of Clayface preparing to eliminate Bruce Wayne, and without the toys in his Bat suit, it looks like it might be a gooey end for our genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist.

Does Snyder prove that he can shape a satisfying tale in but two issues or does his story dry up and crack under the strain?

In this issue, Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox escape from certain death and Clayface leads the police on a not so merry chase.

Just How Stupid Are Batman's Friends?

This is one of those issues which will leave you perplexed at how anybody can still be ignorant of the identity of Batman. You might think that seeing Bruce Wayne eagerly don a Bat suit and act heroically might clue Lucius Fox into the fact that Bruce Wayne is Batman, but no, apparently this is just one of those eccentric things that billionaires occasionally do, and Fox is determined not to think of it as anything other than that. Similarly, another group of people in this issue get a real big hint at Bruce Wayne's darker side, but this is once more swept under the rug in a somewhat believable way. However, though Batman has a good excuse showing that he is not Bruce Wayne, this excuse should have been immediately undermined by Batman's visceral reaction to Clayface's taunting a few seconds later.

This isn't a huge problem for the story, but it kind of annoyed me. It's one of those things that you are going to read, and maybe it will bug you, but you are going to say, “Hey, this happens in the same universe where Superman can hide his identity from people who have known him for years with just by wearing pair of eyeglasses. If that holds water, why should this be a problem?” However, little things like this bug me.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 3/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 3.7
 - (Buy Batman #20)

Batman and Robin #20 - Rage


The massive fallout from the recent events in BATMAN, INCORPORATED take Batman to the very limits of his sanity…will The Red Hood pull him back—or push him over the edge?


Preview



Shattered by Rage!


This issue has me a little nervous. I've loved many of Batman and Robin's past issues, but Batman and Red Robin was a bit of a disappointment for a plethora of reasons. Red Robin was not represented as any less of a douche than he has been in Teen Titans, Carrie Kelley hijacked much of the story, and I found that I did not much care for the new apparent inheritor of the Robin mantle. We know, based on previously released information, that Red Hood will be showing up this issue, and that Batman will be working through his anger over Damian's death. Considering after this issue, Red Hood will go on a mission to lose some memories, it is fair to assume that things will go poorly between Bruce and Jason. Last issue had Batman willing to kidnap and maim Frankenstein, a fellow hero, to try and revive poor Damian, and though I understand grief can incite you to do terrible things, that is not a version of Batman I want to see, so altogether, I find myself with a lot of reasons to be skeptical of this issue.

Does Bruce's anger and loss serve as a riveting tale or does this story leave fans seething in rage?

In this issue, Bruce deals with an inquisitive Carrie Kelley before taking out a group of mercenaries with Red Hood.

Carrie Kelley Needs To Be Introduced to Joker's Crowbar

I am really hoping Carrie Kelley is not the next Robin because I cannot stand her. I'm tempted to make this a long diatribe, but I'll try to keep it short.

Carrie comes back to Wayne Manor because she wants to know whats going on with Damian, and she also wants to return the money she did not earn. I think that is something that we can all respect, right? My problem is the way she does it. When Bruce does not answer her questions, she shoves her bag into Alfred's arms and starts strolling through Wayne Manor making herself at home. She calls Alfred Hobson presumably because that was the name of the butler of Arthur in the film Arthur which was a story about a spoiled rich playboy. By calling Alfred Hobson, Carrie is being dismissive of Alfred by failing to call him by his name or even show any interest in learning his name and she is dissing Bruce by comparing him to the spoiled and shallow Arthur. After playing around on Bruce's baby grand without invitation and nosing through family photos, Carrie accuses Bruce of sending Damian away because he does not care about him. She also quotes Shakespeare when given a very small opening which, as I said last month, seems highly pretentious to me.

Coming into someone's house, insulting the owner and father of your friend, screwing around with their stuff, condemning the father of your friend as a horrible person without provocation, and quoting Shakespeare to show how smart you are? Screw you, Carrie. Get the heck out.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 5/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 4.1
 - (Buy Batman and Red Hood #20)

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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