All-Star Batman, Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy (2017) by Scott Snyder & John Romita Jr.

“If you think I’m dying in a group hug, you can pick your favorite opening and shove that right–“

Scott Snyder returns to writing Batman in this first collection of the DC Rebirth title ‘All-Star Batman’. For the opening storyline, Snyder has chosen to focus on Two-Face, pitting Batman against the schizophrenic Harvey Dent for five action-packed issues. Accompanied by John Romita Jr.’s meaty artwork and Dean White’s soft pastel colors, Snyder lets rip with an exciting and violent Two-Face tale.

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Batman is on a mission to cure Harvey Dent of his homicidal tendencies, dragging him on a road trip out of Gotham and deep into the country. All he has to do is get Dent to the secret location of this “cure”, a location known only by the two of them. The problem is Two-Face has put a huge bounty on Batman’s head inviting anyone and everyone to take him down. This brings a large group of villains out of the woodwork including Killer Croc and the deadly KGBeast (remember him?). Continue reading

Batman Vol. 2: I Am Suicide (2017) by Tom King & Mikel Janin

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Batman needs to spring Psycho-Pirate from the island prison Santa Prisca. The problem is Bane is running the prison, making it almost impenetrable. To make an impossible mission possible, Batman puts together his own Suicide Squad comprising of Catwoman, the Ventriloquist, Bronze Tiger, and Punch and Jewelee. Considering Batman’s broken history with Bane, is this mission too suicidal even for him? Continue reading

Dark Night: A True Batman Story (2010) by Paul Dini & Eduardo Risso

“I guess I should tell you right now, this is not the kind of story I’m known for: fantasy, action, comedy – though I guess it includes little bits of all of them. Mainly the story is about him. Batman. Or if not about him, he’s a key player in the action.” (p.2)

 

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This is not a traditional Batman story, but it is a story about Batman. In fact, Batman is one of the characters although he doesn’t fight crime in here. Dark Night: A True Batman Story is a very personal story about Paul Dini, an American writer and producer who is probably most famous for his work on Batman: The Animated Series. He also co-created the character Harley Quinn with artist Bruce Timm.

It is an autobiographical tale focusing on the period in Dini’s life when he was working for Warner Bros. Animation in the 1990s. Walking home one night after a dinner date, he was mugged and violently beaten. It was a harrowing experience for Dini, one which left him with both physical and mental scars. This story can be interpreted as a way of exorcising some of the demons the mugging left him with. Continue reading

Batman: Night of the Monster Men (2017)

“Mother of — Those things’ll kill us! Get out of my way!” (p.47)

 

Co-written by Steve Orlando, Tom King, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV. Art by Riley Rossmo, Roge Antonio, Andy MacDonald.

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Graphic Novel Cover by Riley Rossmo

The first crossover storyline from the DC Rebirth titles ‘Batman’, ‘Detective Comics’, and ‘Nightwing’. A massive storm approaches Gotham City, prompting Batman and his newly-formed team to evacuate some of its citizens. At the same time, something is stirring in the city’s morgue, something strange …

This is a Batman Rebirth tale for Halloween. It has huge, sumptuously-designed monsters running amok in Gotham City. Batman, needing all the help he can get, joins forces with a team of heroes including Batwoman, Nightwing, Duke Thomas, Gotham Girl, Spoiler, Orphan, and a reformed(?) Clayface. It is an interesting crew of characters carried over from the recent Detective Comics Rebirth storyline: ‘Rise of the Batmen’.

As the Bat-team pits their fighting skills and wits against the mutant monsters, Gotham’s citizens become increasingly aggressive in their evacuation site. Could this have anything to do with a briefly-glimpsed villain from Batman’s past? Or is it something from the storm that is affecting them? Continue reading

The Sheriff of Babylon (2016) by Tom King and Mitch Gerads

“You hear?! Do you hear!?! We’re all cowboys! Pow! Pow! Pow!” (Vol. 2: p.41)

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Volume 1: Bang. Bang. Bang.

Baghdad 2003. Chris Henry, a military consultant from Florida, is training a new police force. When one of his trainees is found murdered, Henry teams up with experienced local policeman Nassir, and their investigation begins.

This is a brutal, powerful and emotional look at the early effects of the War on Terror in Iraq. Writer Tom King is ex CIA and has spent time in the country. He writes of what he knows. You can feel his experience coming across in the writing.

There is a gritty realism to a lot of the scenes and dialogue, and this is backed up by the artwork. It has a cinematic look to it, from the covers to the interiors. At times the artwork is shocking in its graphic detail. The reader is exposed to the blood and guts of violence, ranging from gunshot wounds to brutal beatings. This is not for the squeamish. Continue reading