Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Comic Book Review: Batman #699

Book Information
Written by Tony Daniel
Penciled by Guillem March
Colored by Tomeu Morey
Lettered by Jared K. Flectcher
Cover by Tony Daniel

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
I feel a tad bit sorry for Tony Daniel.  With issue #700 right around the corner, and Mr. Grant Morrison taking over as writer, Daniels must wrap up his ever so interesting story arc a lot sooner than should have been.  The story gives us further background on why Blackspell wants Edward Nigma to suffer and die.  Batman, like always, figures things out in the nick of time to defeat Blackspell.  But in this defeat of one villain, he may have regained another.

The fast pacing of this Batman story might have detracted from the arc’s overall appeal.  I understand that Edward Nigma is beginning to readopt his Riddler persona, that much was clear a couple of months ago, but I was confused as to why Batman felt Nigma had planed this from the start when this was clearly not the case.  Blackspell did in fact kidnap Nigma and was ready administer a chemical dosage that would turn the former inquisitive Bat villain into a tree.  Batman’s detective skills weren’t quite at their best, but I blame that on the hurried nature of this issue since Daniel’s had little time to wrap things up.  I suspect there was more to the story that Daniels was unable to delve into, therefore some important plot devices had to be left out.

And speaking of trees, I did find it a little odd that as payment for what Nigma did to Blackspell all those years ago, he felt changing Nigma into a lifeless tree would work.  When Blackspell was accidentally exposed to this chemical, his tree-like state made him stronger, more powerful and menacing, almost defeating the Dark Knight.  Blackspell was still mobile and could extend his branch-like arms far enough to catch Nigma before getting away.  I’m not sure I see the logic behind this concluding and epic battle. 

The poetic nature of Batman’s inner monologues from were very well written and executed.  Daniels was definitely the right pick in transitioning Dick Grayson into the Dark Knight.  I no longer have to wonder if it’s Bruce Wayne and the Boy Wonder wearing the cape and cowl.

Guillem March, teamed with a new colorist, again delivers some of the most impressive artwork on the pages of comics.  Why so many critiques disapprove of his artistic approach is beyond me as I find his artwork visually appealing and quite expressive.  The transition from panel to panel and the layout of this book was quite well done and varied with every page turn. 

My Profoundly Climactic Conclusion
So has Nigma begun the trip back into his Riddler persona or was this just a failed attempt at murder on the part of Blackspell?  I know The Riddler is coming back, but how and why, that’s questions I’m looking to answer.  Overall, this issue was fun, but seemed a little too compacted and rushed, making the ending a little less satisfactory than I would have wanted it to be.  Once again, another reason for me to curse the name of Grant Morrison!

Writing: 6.5
Themes: 6
Art: 10
Overall: 7.5 out of 10

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