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@BatWatcher Reviews: @DCComics Detective Comics, Batgirl, Batman, Nightwing

Here are today's Guest Reviews by Jeremy Sims from Batwatch for DC's; Detective Comics #22, Batgirl #22, Batman #22, and Nightwing #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.

Detective Comics #22 - Targeting the Shield; My Better Half

Meet The Wrath! In Gotham City, he’s the anti-Batman, and the body count is about to shoot through the roof! And in the backup story, Man-Bat makes a startling discovery!



I don't really have anything new to say about Detective Comics. It's the same old story, but in the possible way. I love Detective Comics. In my view, Layman (current writer of Image's Chew, IDW's Mars Attacks and Detective Comics) is writing the best Batman with short, simple adventure stories which do indeed showcase his detective skills. Jason Fabok  (former penciler for Aspen MLT's Michael Turner's Soulfire, Superman/Batman, and The Dark Knight cover artist for Batwing and current penciler of Detective Comics and cover artist for Justice League of America) has been an excellent partner in helping Layman make his visions reality.

Some people disliked the last issue complaining that the villain was shallow and the story was unimportant, but I felt the villain opened the door for further exploration of her character and I'm not somebody who feels a story has to be large scale on either an emotional or physical level to be entertaining, so I enjoyed it. Now Layman is diving into a longer arc with the returning villain Wrath, the anti-Batman, who has made a few appearances over the years but has never really become even a B-string Bat villain. It looks like Layman is determined to redress Wrath's grievances and give him another shot at the big time in his DCNU reboot first appearance. Let's hope this villain lives up to his potential.

Does the Wrath serve as a noteworthy villain for The World's Greatest Detective or does this story just leave readers filled with Scorn?

In this issue, Bruce meets an industrial rival and then Batman tackles Scorn, The Wrath's protege.

Honestly, I'm so ticked off at my computer right now that I'm having a hard time thinking about anything else, but I'm going to try to see through the red.

This issue had a lot of strong moments, but it also had some pretty major oversights.

The first thing that struck me was actually an artistic note which is unusual since that is not my strong suit. However, I've always loved Jason Fabok's pencils, yet they are actually more difficult to appreciate here not because they are any less skilled but because they are not accentuated very well by the colors. The artist who worked with Layman and Fabok through the Emperor Penguin plotline, Jeromy Cox, has flown the coop, and Emilio Lopez has taken his place. Emilio is not terrible, but his look just seems to be rather grey. Both during Gotham's dusky night and Gotham's cloudy day, we see a lot of gray in the picture, and monochromatic look kind of bores me. It's not truly one color, but it's mostly subdued tones which creates in me a rather subdued feeling. Occasionally, something bright will pop into frame, and it's nice to see the contrast between the mundane and the more intense, but if he were trying to really bring these brighter moments to the forefront, he really needed to bring even brighter colors because these brighter apsects, though not dull, do not make up for the plain look of so many other panels. Perhaps if the contrast were really extreme, this could work, but as is...

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
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Batgirl #22 - A Day in the Life of Endless Velocity

Following the recent massive trauma she’s suffered, Barbara Gordon tries to move on with her life—without Batgirl!


Where the Heck Has This Been Hiding?

Batgirl has been a really odd series bouncing up and down in terms of quality like a yo-yo. This issue is the beginning of a new story arc where Batgirl apparently gives up the mantle and Commissioner Gordon dedicates the police department to bringing Batgirl to justice. I'm not sure what I think of this idea. Seeing Batgirl take a step back from the Bat could be a good thing as she tries to process who she is apart from that identity, but the fundamental crux of the issue, that Batgirl does not feel she can share her secrets with her father, is fundamentally flawed. It's ridiculous to pretend the Commissioner, who supports vigilante justice on a regular basis, would really object to his daughter's involvement if she explained the circumstance of James Jr.'s death. Still, the story has some potential. I guess there is only one way to find out whether it lives up to it.

Does this time of trail cause Barbara Gordon to grow as a character or does shehave another nervous breakdown instead?

In this issue, Babs goes out on her date with Ricky.

Whoa! I cannot decide if I'm more shocked or outraged, yet it's not out of disappointment but of happy surprise. It's not that Simone has never written a good Batgirl story. I thought parts of her Death of the Family arc were great, but this issue did what the series has never done by focusing on Barbara Gordon for the first time...and actually made her likable.

I know some people have this weird Batgirl/Simone (former writer of Birds of Prey and current writer of Batgirl and The Movement) fanaticism where they think Babs is the best character of all time and Simone has hit every issue out of the park. If you read most critics, that actually seems to be the popular view. However, I disagree strongly. Many of Simone's issues have been weak and Babs has almost always been a flat, uptight, whiny character.

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 - 5/5
Verdict - 4.1
 - (Buy Batgirl #22) SAVE 10%

Nightwing #22 - Showtime

Nightwing takes on Ghostwalker, and the Prankster finds a surprising ally!


I Love Dick!

Nightwing has been amazing since his move to Chicago. Dick's been drawn deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the Windy City as his cast of strong supporting characters continues to expand and deepen. Tony Zucco, the mayor, Prankster, Mali, and the unnamed mask killer are all threats lurking around every corner. If the cover is any indication, Dick might finally be getting his shot at the man who killed his parents, yet Zucco's portrayal in the previous issues have not indicated the sociopath we previously believed Zucco to be. If the cover of this issue is any indication, perhaps this issue will shed a bit more light on the truth of the situation.

Does Nightwing continue to live large in the Windy City or will the stormy winds of fortune blow our hero off course?

In this issue, Mike gets his shot at the big time and Grayson deals with challenges on multiple fronts.

If you look around on the internet, you can drudge up some T-Shirt designs that say, “I love Dick” on the front and “Grayson” on the back. I'm not sure if I'm quite enough of a fan to don that T-Shirt, but I have to say that I am once more thrilled with this issue. There is hardly a flaw in this story though I did find two I will mention later.

As far as the overwhelming good of this series, it's the same stuff I've been saying for the past several issues. Dick is well represented in both terms of his personality and his ability. There is a subtle nod to the depth of his detective skills in his interrogation with the mayor. Of course, he does the typical Bat route of intimidation and spying, but beyond that, he actually starts by asking the mayor about Tony Zucco's by using Zucco's actual name rather than his new alias. It was a long shot, but if the mayor had given any indication of knowing who Nightwing was referencing, Nightwing would have had him dead to rights on the issue.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating

Cover & Solicit - 3/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 3.9
 - (Buy Nightwing #22) SAVE 10%

Batman #22 - Secret City: Part Two; That One Time

The second chapter of “Zero Year” delves into Bruce Wayne’s past with the Red Hood Gang and his run-ins with aspiring District Attorney Harvey Dent! And in the backup story, a secret moment from Bruce’s training abroad is revealed for the first time!


Love and Hate

It's time once more for Zero Year.

I was a bit underwhelmed by the last issue. We are supposed to be experiencing a brand new Batman origin, yet instead of a story really exploring how Bruce became Batman, we had a bunch of scattered moments with no obvious connection. Sure, we saw a little of Batman's battle with the Red Hood and we saw random bits of Bruce's past, but what is the common theme bringing it all together? How long has Bruce even been back in Gotham? How did Bruce first encounter Red Hood? What's the game plan of either Batman or Red Hood in this conflict? We keep on seeing the strings in Edward Nygma's office tying together different concepts in a web of...something, but what is at the center of this web? I didn't have a good idea of where this arc is going in this first issue except that it apparently ends in Armageddon for Gotham.

On the positive front, there were some cool moments between characters, and the battle between Batman and Red Hood was kind of cool. As usual, Capullo's (former penciler for Image's Spawn and current cover artist for Batman) art was great, but still, I feel like the first issue was missing something. I'm not against this series, but it has not yet won my endorsement.

Does Batman #22 provide some clarity for the story and establish a firm direction for the series or is this trip down memory lane full of potholes?

In this issue, we see another flashback to Bruce's past while in the present Bruce regroups after a conflict with Red Hood goes poorly.

If nothing else, this series is really crystallizing what I love and hate about Scott Snyder's (former writer of Vertigo's American Vampire and current writer of Batman, Superman Unchained and Vertigo's the Wake and Long Road to Hell) writing of Batman.

On the positive front, I love Snyder's dialogue. Quite frankly, I'd be perfectly happy if her wrote Batman comics with no action whatsoever and just focused on Bruce Wayne and the rest of the family interacting with one another. This issue features a host of memorable conversations from Bruce's overt verbal jousting with Red Hood to his more subtle fencing with Riddler to his cutting dialogue with Alfred. All of these scenes served to clarify who Bruce Wayne is as a person, and again, I could read these types of conversations for hours.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating

Cover & Solicit - 2/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 3.7
 - (Buy Batman #22) SAVE 20%

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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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