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@BatWatcher Reviews: @DCComics Batman and Catwoman, Batwoman, Birds of Prey, Dark Knight



Here are today's Guest Reviews by Jeremy Sims from Batwatch for DC's; Batman and Catwoman #22, Batwoman #22, Birds of Prey #22, and Batman: The Dark Knight #22. 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.



Batman and Robin #22 - Despair



Bruce Wayne continues to grind through his grief over the death of Damian—but is Catwoman here to help Batman or take advantage of his vulnerable state?

Preview



Fool Me Once...


It's time once more for Tomasi's  (former editor of Hitman and current writer for Batman and...) series to debut another issue. Tomasi has delivered some excellent stories this past year, but it seems many feel that this particular arc is not living up to its potential. I seem to be more on board with the current arc than most. I'm good with the grieving, and I've been interested in what each chapter has brought to the forefront of Batman's character as he interacts with the members of his family. Granted, Red Robin was underutilized, Bruce was a bit too dark for my tastes in his interactions with Frankenstein and a few scenes were less than smooth, but I've been entertained so far, and I'm interested to see what happens next.

This issue features Catwoman and while that would normally be perfectly fine, our feline fatale has seen better days. Anne Nocenti (former writer for Daredevil and current writer for Catwoman, Young Romance and Katana)  has desecrated all that makes Selina a worthwhile character, and it's hard to imagine how Tomasi might be able to use her effectively. Will he adopt the painfully bad version of Selina we have seen in recent comics, draw on a better version of Selina from better days or create some sort of hybrid that will suit his purposes? It's time to find out this and much more.

Is this issue a Cat-astrophe or is the chemistry between Bruce and Selina puuuur-fect?

In this issue, Catwoman recruits Batman to assist her on a JLA mission to rescue a U.S. spy.

I always try to avoid looking at comic reviews until I've read any given issue myself so I do not taint my perceptions, but after I've written my reviews, then I usually check out others' opinions. One of the main criticisms I saw of the last issue was that the issue really had little to do with the bargaining stage of grief as promised. It did do the concept lip service, but it was fairly shallow. However, I thought the issue was still entertaining and pushed forward the story of Bruce in the process of grief despite the fact that bargaining was a somewhat missed opportunity.

I'm not going to give this issue a similar pass. This issue was supposedly focused on the stage of depression had almost nothing to do with depression. Perhaps worse, this issue did not offer anything substantive to the arc in its place.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 3/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 3/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict -3.1
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Batwoman #22 - This Blood Is Thick: Hits


Batwoman discovers that the D.E.O. are bringing in Gotham City’s most dangerous villains for questioning. Their real target? Batman! Plus, Hawkfire continues to plan a strike against the D.E.O.



Preview




Grr, Argh! 


Batwoman has been a thrilling ride thus far, and we now sit on the precipice of what might be the greatest set of twists and turns yet. Soon, we will see Batwoman versus Batman. I do not suppose it is a novel concept; many characters have earned their stripes and proved their worth by going up against the Dark Knight, but we rarely see one of his own truly turn against him, and whereas Batman knows every trick that his proteges might ever try, Kate Kane was never truly an acolyte of the Bat. She serves the cause and not the man and that distance coupled with the support of her family might just make the difference in giving Kate the victory in the upcoming battle.

On the other hand if she truly intends to sacrifice Batman for the safety of her family, then she has betrayed the cause of Batman as well as the hero. Doing evil for the sake of good rarely works out well, and Batwoman will never shake her overlords at the D.E.O. by showing them they have complete power over her. I suspect Kate will deviate from the plan and save Batman in the end, but this series has kept me guessing, so it is impossible to be sure of how things will develop. Even if Kate does follow the expected path and prove herself free of corruption, there are still many questions lingering. What would be the fallout for her family? Can Beth be rescued? Will this feeble bond between the Kane clan hold together long enough to prevent disaster? Are Batwoman's combat skills a match for Batman's? Is Mr. Bones really Kate's brother? Questions abound and it is time for answers.

Does Batwoman #22 continue to be a thrilling roller coaster or has this book gone off the rails?

In this issue, Batwoman and Hawkfire take on Bane while Maggie interviews the inmates of Arkham.

Ninety percent of this issue was great as per usual, but there was one thing that just irritated me, and I'm going to have to pick it apart.

My problem is with the way Bane was handled.

Before I get into it, let me first apologize for revealing that Bane is even in this issue. When I turned the page and saw him, I mentally did a "Whaaaat?" Bane is a big name villain, and usually a villain of this caliber would be solicited or held for the end of issue as a reveal. Kudos to the creative team for keeping things under wraps. I would like to save the surprise for those of you who have not yet read the issue, but since I'll probably spend most of the review complaining about this one aspect, I cannot justify avoiding it. Also, it was on the fourth page, so it is not as if this is a huge spoiler.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 2/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 3.3
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Birds of Prey #22 - Operation Kaizen


Betrayed by one of their own and homeless, the last thing the Birds need is another shock. But what is Condor’s link to BASILISK?



Preview



Oy Vey!


Bird has not been the word at least not if the Birds in question are the members of the Birds of Prey. By doing weekly news searches on all the different Bat affiliated comic series, I get an unusually insightful view into what is on the minds of comic book fans, and Birds of Prey is practically a no man's land. Nobody much cares for our poor team of heroines. (and Condor)

Luckily, Christy Marx (current writer of Birds of Prey) is here to save the day, or at least this is what we might hope. Despite the fact that Marx laid an egg last month with an underwhelming issue featuring an overly long fight between Strix and Talon and a nonsensical romantic moment between Black Canary and Condor, Marx has actually done quite a lot to improve the overall narrative quality throughout her brief run. Despite her worthwhile efforts, Marx has done little to stem the hemorrhaging of readers as sales numbers plummet. Though it is hard to imagine Marx truly saving the series, there is still hope as long as Marx can keep it afloat if she writes good stories.

Does Marx's new arc send the Birds soaring to new heights or are these Birds destined to fall?

In this issue, the Birds clean up after the insanity with Starling, Mr. Freeze and Talon and a new team of villains arrive under the control of Basilisk.

Well, this is not going to save the series.

I'll break this down Bat Droppings style in a minute, but I'll very quickly outline this issue's problems first. The Black Canary and Condor relationship does not work, the art is split between Romano Molenaar (current artist for Birds of Prey) and Robson Rocha (former penciler of DC Universe Presents and current penciler of Worlds' Finest and penciler for Birds of Prey) which gives the issue an inconsistent look, Dinah is reverting to her inept and whiny ways, and there are too many subplots in this single issue to make one satisfying story.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 3/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 3/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 3.7
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Batman: The Dark Knight #22 - Breaking Point


Picking up from recent issues of BATMAN, the origin of Clayface is revealed—and a new mystery is introduced!



Preview



Harshing the Mellow


The Dark Knight is such a painful series to me. At first it was just crap, and that was kind of fun because it's easy and entertaining to make fun of crap, but then Gregg Hurwitz (former writer of Vengeance of the Moon Knight and Penguin: Pride and Prejudice and current writer of The Dark Knight) started writing the series, and he brought the pain. You see, Hurwitz has fooled me into buying into his arcs twice now, once with Scarecrow and once with Mad Hatter, but his stories are largely derivative and overly long, so by the time the final issue of any given arc is read, I'm completely fed up with it.

You would think I would have learned me lesson by now, and I'm trying, yet I read the preview for this issue, and the very interesting scenario of Commissioner Gordon killing surrendered criminals has me intrigued. Most likely, Clayface will be directly responsible for the actions of "Commissioner Gordon," but the blood is already in the water, and there is no going back now. The sharks of my intrigue know there is a potential feast here, and though I know they are more likely to find naval mines than a  good meal, I can't seem to call them off. Maybe Hurwitz will deliver this time with an origin tale for Clayface. Maybe, but I'm hesitant.

Does The Dark Knight #22 prove that Hurwitz can take this clay and mold it into a beautiful piece of art or is this a fragile and ugly monstrosity that should have been destroyed fresh off the potter's wheel?

In this issue, Batman takes on Clayface.

Full disclosure here, I'm intentionally being harsh in this review because when I give the benefit of a doubt to Hurwitz I usually regret it, so I'm looking to punch holes in this issue.

This issue does have two great scenes going for it. First, the setup of Commissioner Gordon going evil was great. Using Jim's internal monologue to establish his mindset nearly sells the idea that the villainmight actually be Gordon gone mad. Second, Commissioner Gordon trying to escape was a nice touch. So often we see Bruce's allies acting like the perfect little victims. It was nice to see that Bruce's friends can stand on their own two feet.

Sadly, there as not much else truly good about this story. Again, I would like to be generous and give the story a benefit of a doubt, but Hurwitz has lot that privilege.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 3/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 2/5
Layout & Flow - 2/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 2.6
 - (Buy Batman: The Dark Knight #22) SAVE 10%

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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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