Sunday, February 21, 2010

Comic Book Review: Batman #696

Book Information
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Tony Daniel and Sandra Florea

Batman is under the dictatorship of the Black Mask who is forcing him to seek out other innocent Gothamites and make them apart of Black Mask’s army.  However, Batman has a few tricks up his sleeve that the Black Mask hasn’t thought of.  But will the Dark Knight be able to escape his captor’s clutches in time to save Gotham from the evil toxin meant to enslave the city?  Also, will Batman discover the identity of the Black Mask?

My Thoughts
I’m always trying to determine my dream team for specific titles.  For Green Lantern, Geoff Johns and Ed Benes.  For Superman, Sterling Gates and Gary Frank.  For Wonder Woman, the already existing team of Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti.  My dream team for Batman however consists of one man, Tony Daniel.  Daniel has done enough Batman in the past to really bring it to life. 

This issue contains everything from a dark, twisted story to incredibly gothic art.  The story itself is nothing new.  It’s filled with the typical comic book plot devices associated with Batman.  Poisonous toxins, scientific resolutions, fist fights with idiotic goons in league with the main villain, some random dialogue, and of course Batman over coming the odds.  It’s the same old story that fills the pages of Batman on a monthly basis, but it’s still a lot of fun.  While this issue does not forget about the bigger mystery, this issue’s focus was geared towards minion hitting and brawling action.

Sandra Florea does an excellent job with the colors and complimenting Daniel’s new artistic direction.  I’ve always enjoyed Daniel’s art, but recently he seems to have grown as an artist as time progresses forward.  There seems to be a significant difference even between last month and this month’s issue.  The texture of the characters and the landscaping has a purity to them that creates for an even more engaging storyline.  And honestly, I think Daniel’s might be the best, or one of the best, creepy artists in comics today.  I don’t think I’ve ever been more terrified of the Penguin than I have with Daniel’s sketching.

A lot of fun and engaging with every page turn.  The story is nothing new so this issue doesn’t get any marks for originality, but the art sure gives it a boost in the rankings.  Now, I leave you the question of the month…Who is the Black Mask?  (Cause I can’t figure it out, and it’s driving me crazy!!!)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming March 17, 2010
Who wears the Black Mask? The true identity of Gotham City's new crimelord is finally revealed and that identity will surprise everybody – especially Batman! And after the final showdown between Black Mask and The Dark Knight, will things ever be the same for Kittyhawk and the Reaper?

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