Plot: Dick Grayson continues his role as Batman, fighting crime and stopping evil in its tracks. He leaves the crime scenes with a package of gift wrapped criminals awaiting the Gotham City law enforcement, and is making sure his presence known. Criminals are becoming weak in the knees since they were sure the Dark Knight was gone for good. This of course leaves the Penguin and Two-Face in a frustrating spot.
Many things seem to be in motion with this single issue. The Penguin, who takes all of his anger out on his henchmen, deals with the fact that Batman is getting in his way of taking over the city and becoming Gotham's ultimate crime lord. Two-Face, on the other hand, takes note of the recently returned Batman's fighting style and notices some differences and wonders if this is the Batman he has known for so many years.
Meanwhile Commissioner Gordon, shining the Bat signal for all Gotham to see, seems to be preparing Sergeant Pike for taking over his job as Police Commissioner and working with The Batman. It also seems that the Commissioner wonders if this is the Batman he has been working with since for as long as he can remember. Doubt sets in.
We are left as Two-Face starts revealing a plan of action to take down Batman, and his rival, The Penguin.
My Thoughts: The book opens up with a phantom attacker literally beating Batman into submission. This mysterious attacker is not revealed in this issue at all, I'm assuming we wont know who it is until the next issue...And I like that! Mystery's can be so refreshing and wonderful stories, especially when the mystery involves a character we all known and love. This issue has a lot of potential with this single, solitary aspect. However, the book as a whole was less than pleasing.
Everything surrounding the characters is quite dull and boring. After the first 4 pages, I began to fall asleep. I had to go back a few times and reread pages I had already gone over. You know how that is, you are reading something and your mind wanders, which forces you to go back and read the page(s) you already read. The plot is potentially great, however I don't think Winick is doing the characters justice and not serving the plot very well.
The art is so-so. I would say the best part of Bagley and Hunter's art is the cover. After that, it really doesn't entice me that much. Which is strange because Bagley typically gets my artistic juices flowing.
This book is not up to par with the Batman and Robin title right now. But who knows, maybe we are suppose to feel a little "iffy" about it since Dick Grayson is still feeling a little "iffy" about himself as Batman. Lets hope issue # 689 brings us something better in this story arc.
I give this issue 2.5 stars of of 5 stars