Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman - The Dark Knight #21

So last issue, the Mad Hatter dropped Bruce Wayne's girlfriend out of a helicopter and on to the batsignal, perhaps you heard? Well, it's safe to say, Bruce is pretty pissed. Bruce gets Alfred to give him Hatter's location, despite Alfred believing he's not in his right mind. After some general threats to Alfred, Bruce gets the location, enters Hatter's hideout, and starts kicking all sorts of mind controlled ass.

Bruce makes quick work of one of the Tweedes, then finds himself in a hallway of doors, starting to kick them down one by one, until he finds Hatter behind one, who blows some of his ground up tea in Bruce's face. Bruce starts tripping balls, but focuses himself on the thought of rage, breaks the other Tweede's jaw, and finds himself standing in front of Hatter, who for some reason, pokes the bear by yelling "come on!"

Come on Bruce does, and beats the shit out of the Hatter, with Alfred in his ear, telling him to stop. Bruce uppercut's Hatter into a pool of water, and leaves him to sink, until Alfred convinces him to go back and save the knocked out little guy.

Bruce returns back to the cave to get patched up, as Alfred tells him he at least still considers what he was contemplating with Natalya. One month later, Bruce is still a bit depressed, and the batsignal has been literally taped back together, and lit up. Classic, "he's not coming" from some no name cop, while Gordon is all "Yeah he is." And YEAH... he is. Because fuck yeah, Commissioner Gordon.


The Good:

Van Sciver's art was really good. Had two months off to close this one out, and it was pretty damn strong across the board. Notably, the drug trip scenes were pretty fun well portrayed, and it seems like you can probably rely on this book to have one of those each arc.

The Bad:

I forgot to mention this in the last review, but the same point remains, this issue has some balls to even suggest Bruce was close to hanging it up for this woman, who I, as the reader, never really gave all that much of a crap about... To even suggest that is almost insulting to the reader, because um, no, there's like 14 other books Batman has to star in. None of the elements this issue, or the arc itself hinged on were believable in anyway. Natalya learns Bruce is Batman, just out of no where... considering she's been mentioned pretty much no where else, you have to figure that's not going to end well, and then Bruce considering retirement for her? Already addressed that.

Gordon also describes Batman as "a freakin' pterodactyl" at one point... which is weird.

The Bottom Line:

I think this issue/arc just sort of forgot it's place in the grand scheme of things. I'm not trying to insult the book or anything, but for this book to suggest some of the things it did... yeah, it's not the flagship title, by any means. Ultimately, I think those elements just tarnished what this book does well, which is tell stories with classic characters, that may have been lost in all the hype of the new in the New 52. That said, the final fight was entertaining, and again, it had great art. Hopefully going forward, this title shortens things up a little bit, and sort of just levels itself out.



  1. This title really doesn't have a place in the New 52 because it is sort of out of the continuity like Alfred showing up at the end of the last arc while he was still missing in all of the other titles

    1. Pretty sure that arc just took place before "Death of the Family."

  2. Maybe it's just me, but I just can't get interested in the Mad Hatter arc. I like Hurwitz a s a writer and the art has been pretty great the whole time, but I can't get interested in his Hatter. I also have nothing against the character himself, as I actually enjoy most books about him; even for as little as we saw him in Arkham City, he felt spot on. I hope the Clayface arc will be more level, especially since there's a lot to play with considering Clayface's past as an actor

  3. So what if it's not the flagship title? Just because it's not Scott Snyder's Batman, that means stuff can't happen? Bullshit.

    1. Sure, I should take the notion of Batman retiring in this book seriously. THAT is bullshit.

    2. When did he ever consider retiring in this arc? I can't find it. He was Natalya's "Knight in Dark armor". She got that this was his passion like piano playing was hers, I don't think she wanted him to stop. I think this title's intended direction at least since scarecrow arc is to show what batman and his rogue's gallery have in common and have them vicariously experience each other. Scarecrow's arc was executed better, imo, but i definitely enjoyed this one. The only thing I would have changed was mad hatter's origin. He shouldn't have been a kid. Penguin and scarecrow had messed up childhoods, I was hoping Hatter could have gone south as an adult, (looking forward to Clayface specifically for this reason). Try reading this arc all at once, that helps the theme come through more clearly.

    3. #20, after scenes talking about how being Batman leads to death "First I'm going to Natalya, I'm going to tell her...That I won't do this forever. She should know. I'll finish this. I'll put down the Hatter, make him pay for what he did. And then... Take a long hard look at the future."

  4. Ah, you're right. But that's not as bad as it seems, at first. I think with good writing that conversation would go something along the lines of B: "I will quit being batman for a future you" N: "Hell no you won't batman is your concert pianist, I fell in love with batman, etc...", or she'd be all happy but realize bruce was unhappy and make him be bats again. Bats is losing his future with his Alice to who he is just like the Hatter did. I mean the Hatter straight up says that this issue "Now you know what it's like to have loved and lost". But yeah good rating for the issue and I think the arc. Greg's heart was in the right place but in practice it kinda flopped for this one. I felt it but I definitely get you not caring about natalya enough.