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Thursday July 9, 2009 9:01 pm

DC Comics Review: Batman #688




Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, DC Comics,

Batman688

Rating: ** !/2*

This month’s issue of Batman is not as good as the previous issue.  I can’t put my finger on why that is, but I was left kind of with a whatever attitude after I read this story, where I was pumped after I finished reading Batman and Robin last week.  I think maybe the reason I felt this way was because of the way Judd Winick wrote the character of Dick Grayson.  He seemed weak.  I still don’t feel like he’s confident that he can do the job when he’s been fighting crime all his life.  I know DC wants him to portray him as if he’s not worthy, but he is worthy - more than worthy.  Which is why I was a bit upset by two scenes in this particular issue. 

One scene is the opening scene where we see Dick dressed as Batman fighting an unknown assailant in the Bat-Cave three weeks from now.  The assailant knows he’s not the real Batman and is telling him so as he kicks the crap out of him.  Dick lays defeated at the foot of his mentor’s cowl encased in glass with the assailant ready for the kill.  This scene screams you’re a loser and a pretender.  The second scene is comical, but again it seems like what we have here in Dick is a pretender to the throne.  Dick is talking to Alfred about the cape and cowl and how he can’t see and the cape is too heavy to move around.  I know that DC wanted to change the dynamic of Batman and Robin and have Robin be the dark figure while Batman is more light hearted, but it doesn’t seem to work here in this issue, where it’s been portrayed well over in Batman and Robin.

We’ve seen in the previous issue as well as in the Battle for the Cowl mini-series that the Penguin and Two-Face are both trying to take over the Gotham City underworld.  On a side note, I wonder what happened to the Black Mask.  Wasn’t he supposed to be involved as well?  Maybe he’ll show up later.  Anyway, Dick Grayson as Batman stops one of the Penguin’s shipments and is caught on camera.  Two-Face notices something is different about Batman.  He finds it interesting that the Batman would even allow himself to get on camera in the first place.  After watching the footage Two-Face says to his cohort that the man in the Batman costume is not Batman.

I think it’s safe to say that the assailant who we see in the beginning of the issue beating up Dick will end up being Two-Face.  Also, I’ve seen the cover to Batman #691and Two-Face is dressed in his own version of the Batman costume. It’s an appropriate direction for the story in that if any villain would find out that this isn’t the real Batman, it would be Two-Face as he and Dick have a long history together.  In the “Prodigal” storyline that we saw in the 90s when Dick first took over for Batman, he faced off against Two-Face.  This set up definitely has some potential, but whether it’s executed right we shall see.

Another thing I didn’t like about this story was the scene where Dick and Damian are training.  Winick’s version of the Damian character is kind of bland.  It’s a quick scene, but it almost didn’t seem like him.  I didn’t find myself really disliking him here as much as when I read Batman and Robin

I may not be the only one who is underwhelmed with Winick’s take on the new Dark Knight as it seems he will soon be replaced by Tony Daniel.  Newsarama reported on Tuesday that Daniel will be replacing Winick on the title come October.  Also, the artist for this storyline Mark Bagley, will be moving on to pencil the Justice League comic with James Robinson.  I don’t know if this was always part of the plan or if they didn’t like the ideas Winick was coming up with for the title.  I know some people hated Battle for the Cowl, but I liked it a lot and felt that Daniel did a great job of handling the character of Dick Grayson and produced a fun story - even though the last issue was a bit weak.  Bagley is a great artist and he does a good job here.  Sorry to see him go, but I will definitely be checking out his work on the Justice League.

If you’re a Batman fan, I’m sure you’ve picked this one up already, but if you are casual Bat reader, skip this and read Batman and Robin.  See you soon.

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