Title: Batman #690
Writer: Judd Winick
Art: Mark Bagley and Rob Hunter w/Jack Purcell
I realized that I haven’t reviewed an issue of Batman yet on the blog and I really feel the need to now before Tony Daniel show’s up to fuck shit up.
Judd Winick seems to have a polarizing effect on people. Elliott doesn’t really care for most of Judd’s work (though he admits he’s enjoying this current run on Bats) while I on the other hand liked Winick’s run on Green Arrow and his previous stint on Batman. Regardless of what you may think of him, Judd Winick is really doing some good work on Batman right now. The past couple of issues have had some great character moments between Dick, Damian and Alfred.
Winick trades in those shared alter-ego moments for full on Batman action this issue (or for more than half of it at least). The entire time that Dick is fighting both Clayface and Lyle Blanco we are treated to Batman’s interior monologue/train of thought. Batman’s thought process is quite analytical, interesting, fluid, and most importantly it just makes sense. I also kind of like the fact that Dick smile’s most of the time when he is fighting. It does a lot to separate him from how Bruce was when he was wearing the cowl. One other aspect of Dick’s personality that separates him from Bruce is that Grayson never hesitates to ask Alfred for help when he needs it. Plain and simple Winick not only gets what the Batman character is about but more importantly what the Dick Grayson as Batman character is all about. That’s way more than I can say for the “writer” who will be replacing him shortly.
While all that hullabaloo is going on there are two side stories running concurrently. One deals with Two Face hiring a woman with teleportation powers to help him find the origin of an important item he has come across. The woman can “tap into the source” of an item and uses that to help guide her while she teleports. This item which she will be using is in fact a throwing star in the shape of a bat and guess who it belongs to? I can’t I say remember a villain actually using this method to track down the Bat Cave but then again I have only been reading Batman for a few years. I think it’s actually quite ingenious on Two Face’s (Winick’s) part to come up with this idea. The second side story involves showing the reader how the Black Mask successfully makes the Penguin his lapdog/bitch and is over within a couple of pages.
As for the surprise ending to this issue…well, it really wasn’t a surprise. If you ever saw the ghastly “Future of Batman” 2 page ad’s drawn by Tony Daniel a few months ago that were in every damn DC comic you already knew that this was coming. Without spoiling anything I think that the end is the natural progression of the Two Face character considering what he was doing in Gotham throughout the entire 52 series.
I’ll be sticking around on this title for a least one more issue because after that things are going to get quite terrible on the book.