James Tynion IV, Szymon Kudranski
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This series is such a monthly conundrum for me as a lifelong DC Comics (not to mention Batman) reader. On one hand, they are doing something unique and new, what with introducing not only a brand new hero, but also a supporting cast that is full of original characters, which is exciting. But on the other hand, they are relying, quite heavily, on the obligatory guest stars in order to sell the book. I get it. You share a universe, crossovers happen, and it’s only a matter of time before characters from other books (especially Batman books) make their way into this one. But this book, which is well-written, has enjoyable action sequences, and good artwork, is getting to the point where I’m not actually caring about the title character anymore. At all. At this point, I’m buying it because of Bane.
That would be a fatal flaw for a less talented creative team, but James Tynion IV and Szymon Kudranski really own it in this book. Bane is the focus of this book because he is giant, powerful, and quite terrifying. He should be the focus because, well, he’s awesome. And Calvin is great and all, but he’s always going to pale in comparison to the Court of Owls because they’re just so damn interesting and Batman because, well, he’s the Goddamn Batman. Throw Bane into the mix, have him kick Calvin’s ass not once, but twice in the same storyline, and it just becomes a different book. I’m enjoying the story (I have been ever since the backup feature in Detective Comics “900” came out and convinced me to stick with this book after Scott Snyder’s departure), but with a scene with Batman basically treating Calvin as if he’s only a nuisance and Bane casually ending his partnership with Sebastian (by presumably killing him, off-panel, of course) and joining up with the Secret Society, it’s getting really hard to justify why this is its own series. Like I said, it’s enjoyable. But without Snyder at the helm, and a Birds of Prey crossover and a Forever Evil lead-in within the same story, it’s making me start to wonder if this title will be around much longer.
That being said, I do like the series. It took me a while to pinpoint the reason I wasn’t enjoying it to its fullest, but this issue finally made that all very clear. I don’t like the main character. At all. He’s boring. He’s a bit of a coward. And when it all is said and done, he hasn’t really done anything yet to prove that he isn’t a joke. Even the way that Batman has treated him in the past could have been a moment of “Hey, Batman! You’re a jerk! And I’m awesome and this is why!” But instead of showing him or even telling him off in an entertaining way, he just sort of gets cut off, much like this issue, and the story just continues on without him. Much like Batwing, this is one of those Bat family titles that really doesn’t serve a whole lot of purpose other than we get an extra Batman comic in our stack every month. I’m just curious to see if the series will even be good at all without constant guest stars and lead-ins and crossovers. Or if the creative team is brave enough to try.
My Rating: 3/5