Monday, April 19, 2010

Comic Book Review: Batman #698

Book Information
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Guillem March

A series of hits are played out by the Falcone crime family, taking full advantage of the Black Mask being gone.  However, something isn’t quite right.  A deeper, more sinister player is involved and no one, not even Batman can figure out who it is.  Is it the Riddler?  If it Blackspell?  Or could it be someone else with a sinister smile?

My Thoughts
Honestly, I love Tony Daniel and his work on Batman as of late.  He’s improved so much as a writer over the last few years, something I could model my own writing style after.  And the addition of Guillem March on art was a stroke of genius! 

Tony Daniel has this uncanny ability to write incredible mysteries that are both engaging and thrilling.  The series of events that occur made me guess the identity of the perpetrator without really having much evidence to make those conclusions, but I still do it none the less!  The watermark of a great mystery is being able to keep your readers guessing, yet frustrated at the fact that they know they are probably wrong.  I’m one of those fans who will jump to the last page of the book to find out what the ending will be like, so it’s frustrating for me to do that only to discover I have to wait another month!

I wasn’t complete sure why Blackspell came into the picture at the last minute only to get away with no real answers being revealed, but I’m sure his connection in the story will come to light next month.
Rating: 9

The opening dream sequence was fantastic.  I have full confidence that Dick Grayson has finally been establish as THE Batman where he no longer has to worry about the opinions of others, but that doesn’t mean the worrisome thoughts and dreams won’t continually linger in his mind. 

The first few pages show us a much younger Dick Grayson, still a part of the circus and the Flying Graysons.  First being tossed by his father to the loving arms of his mom, only to be surprised it isn’t actually Mrs. Grayson, but Catwoman!  As he is tossed from one past memory to the next, the scenery around him becomes more dark and dismal, as if nothing truly exists on this plane of reality.  The ones he is closest too continually throw him out as being unworthy of carrying the Batman mantle.  I wonder how this little tid-bit will play out in the overarching theme of the story

As for the bad guy…I think it could be the joker!  Here’s why….

Rating: 8

Guillem March, how I love thee!  I was wondering if he could do anything else but draw an incredibly hot Poison Ivy, and he doesn’t disappoint.  His ever so clean lines have become a hallmark of artistic endeavors.  His range of facial expressions is limitless and he has a real knack for utilizing the different positions the human body can take.  Every known person in this book walks and stands all in character, never straying away from who they are.  As an artist myself, I can fully attest to the fact that maintaining a player’s most known visual characteristics is not an easy task to maintain in a comic book story.

March’s’ attention to detail also come into play here.  The fire coming from the Bat-bike, the wrinkles in the bed sheets as Dick wakes up, the rain drop bouncing of the stone buildings, and the light beaming off of Batman back all portray the level of quality in March’s art, giving off the best emotional effects comics could ask for.
Rating: 10

Other Aspects
I can’t figure out if the Riddler is returning to his evil ways or if he truly is remaining straight.  Either way, something very strange is happening with the Riddler and I’m guessing it’s going to be a doozy next month!

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming May 12, 2010
Only one month until BATMAN #700! As the anniversary issue nears, Dick Grayson's life as the Dark Knight inches dangerously closer to the edge! With the Falcone crime family and The Riddler creating havoc in Gotham City, Batman is completely occupied with no idea what shocking surprise awaits him in the near future!

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