Review: Batman #29 & #30

Batman #29

  • Written by Tom King
  • Pencils by Mikel Janin
  • Inks by Mikel Janin & Hugo Petrus
  • Colored by June Chung
  • Cover by Mikel Janin

Here’s the pitch: Aldred serves the warring Gotham City villains a 9 course traditional French dinner while Bruce Wayne attempts to broker a peace deal. We see the beginning of Batman’s big mistake. The issue is as much fun as the pitch sounds.

End review.

On to #30!

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Batman #30

  • Written by Tom King
  • Pencils by David Gianfelice & Clay Mann & Danny Miki
  • Inks by David Gianfelice & Seth Mann & Danny Miki
  • Colored by June Chung
  • Cover by Mikel Janin

It is another Kite-Man interlude and it is heart breaking and fun, giving the reader an inside look at the War of Jokes and Riddles from a foot soldier’s point of view. The scenes are set to dialogue boxes of a conversation between Kite-Man and his son while we see him get punched by Batman, fly with Man-Bat and deal with the up frightening villains on both sides of this gang war. The juxtaposition of the very human moment of a father talking to his son and a C-list Batman villain trying to survive fighting for the Joker is well done.

The Kite-Man Interludes have done for Kite-Man what Heart of Ice did for Mr. Freeze.

It is worth mentioning that page 11 has my favorite Two-Face moment ever.

There War of Jokes and Riddles continues to be a classic that is en route be shelved next to Batman: Year One and The Long Halloween among my favorite Batman arcs ever as I read with baited breath to see it stick the landing.

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Batman #28 Review

It is another fine issue in the War of Jokes and Riddles. The issue has 3 main parts: Gordon trying to end the war by talking to both sides, Battle of the Snipers – Deathstroke vs Deadshot and a bit with Catwoman during this mess. The Kite-Man interlude  is over though he clearly has a role to play. We’re back to Bruce telling Selina the war story as the narrative device.

  • Written by Tom King
  • Pencils by Mikel Janin
  • Inks by Mikel Janin
  • Colored by June Chung
  • Cover by Mikel Janin

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Not an issue goes by without a reminder that this arc is building on top of Frank Miller. This issue was a line referencing a memorable panel from Batman: Year One:

But these were the best mercenaries in the world.

And I was a year away from kicking a tree.

Batman is vulnerable. His costume is different in the flashbacks, more simple year one style different from than the modern DC look with the lines and the yellow outline around the chest bat icon. In stopping Deathstroke and Deadshot he gives Deadshot a concussion that nearly kills him (NOTE: that touch made me smile because I was just talking to friends at a party about how brutal someone of Batman’s size, strength and training dealing out head trauma would be).

I love that Batman’s inexperience is shown by having to use too much force to stop the violence. Once again, the textual spotlight isn’t on the cool Deathstroke vs. Deadshot matchup but the bystanders killed in the crossfire and the excess of violence deployed to end it. That said, these mercs facing off was still cool and got some amazing panels.

Janin’s clean lines really shine here, both in showing off the action scenes and the innocent bystanders trying to get away from the war. His one and two-page spreads are amazing every issue, especially the scenes where we get to see the Joker and Riddler’s gangs all together.

I’m curious to see what mistakes Batman will make and what lessons will we see him take into future arcs. Will this arc take us into the present with Batman and Selina fighting crime together while the story is finished? I’m intrigued and I’m in, feeling like I’m reading the best Batman arc that I can remember.