Wednesday, August 13, 2014

SPOILERS: Batman #34

Zero Year is done and come back to the present day where a new serial killer is hiding within Gotham, preying on the meek.

The Spoilers:

The story is simple, there's a killer who is targeting the patients of Leslie Thompkins for unknown reasons. Bruce warns Leslie of this and tells her to do the same for her patients, but neither of them know why she or her patients would be a target, nonetheless, Bruce follows his only lead, footage of a red pickup truck near the latest abduction.

After failing to stop the killer from getting to his next victim, Bruce uses a dog that was nearby to track him to the next crime scene, where (I guess) it's confirmed the killer is after Thompkin's patients, as medication prescribed by her is fond on the scene.

Leslie seems to be the next target of the killer, and as she's being attacked, she asks why he's doing this to her and her patients. Turns out this guy isn't like Gotham's normal killers. He doesn't want to be noticed by anyone, especially the Bat, and he wants to prey on those like him, the meek, the forgotten.

Unfortunately for him, it's not actually Leslie Thompkins, but Bruce in a disguise with the EMP mask, and it doesn't take much for him to overpower mister Meek. When the confrontation is over, the real Leslie exits the Batmobile and is told why she/her patients were being targeted.

Bruce brings Meek to Arkham, and has a request for a Dr. Border (I bet he'll play a part in Arkham Manor), one thing leads to another, and the Meek is put into the Joker's old cell, which is the ultimate punishment for the killer, as no one will forget the  man who was put in the Joker's cell.

Later, Batman meets Bullock at the cite where Meek buried his victims. Not much was known about him other than the fact that he was an off the books grave digger. Harvey doesn't want to stay around and see all the dead bodies unearthed, but Bruce makes sure to stay so none of them are forgotten.


The Review:

As an issue of Batman, this one's a weird one. The usual issues between arcs usually have something to do with something else, be it Harper Row, Damian, or whatever, this issue on the other hand just sort of stands along on it's own, and that's okay. What I was going into this issue looking for was to see how writer Gerry Duggan fits in Gotham, because after all, Arkham Manor is only a few months away, and I came out pretty pleased with how he faired. I'm not sure how much Batman will actually show up in Arkham Manor, but Duggan wrote him well, fitting the tone nicely, and the bits where he put the killer in Joker's cell to fuck with him, or stayed behind to make sure no victim was forgotten was simply put: perfectly Batman things to do. So, Duggan's got the tone down, that's for sure, more reason to look forward to his new book in October. On the art side of things, we've got the great combo of Matteo Scalera and Lee Loughridge, who if you read Rick Remender's Image books, these two coming together and making a Batman baby is just beautiful. Scalera's style is dynamic and should please anyone who's a fan of Sean Murphy or Rafael Albuquerque, and Lee Loughridge is just one of the best colorists in the business by my money, and can do no wrong keeping things nice simple, fitting the detective tone of the story.

Also, it's clear that Joker's return is being seeded. I think it's going to be the arc after Endgame, but who knows... He's definitely coming back, though.

The Bottom Line:

I feel like this issue was sold to be something it wasn't. There were talks about this sort of bringing everyone up to speed with Eternal, or even that it takes place after Eternal (which it clearly doesn't as there's nothing to indicate such a shift),  and setting up Arkham Manor seemed to be something I remember being thrown out there. The issue itself is actually none of that, well, not to the extent some would think. Sure, there's a splash page that mentions current continuity, and we may very well see some elements of this come up within Arkham Manor, but at the end of the day, this was a simple and very enjoyable one and done detective story coming from one of Gotham's newest writers, and a fantastic art team. If you have any interest in Arkham Manor, I'd suggest picking this up just to see how Gerry Duggan approaches Gotham, and I think you'll be pleased... That said, if you have interest in that book, I'm pretty sure you'd be reading this one anyways, soooooooo, whatever! It was good!

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