Apparently, this is the first crossover episode of the Rebirth branding and I’m afraid it’s kind of underwhelming. It’s not bad, it’s just… not great.
Collects Batman 7-8, Nightwing 5-6, & Detective Comics 941-942.
It might be called Batman: Night of the Monster Men but I’d be more inclined to rename it Team Batman vs a Japanese Monster Movie.
Following on from the recent Detective Comics storyline involving the death of Tim Drake (Really, who the hell would willingly put on the Robin costume? That’s 3 of 4. Either Batman is a really careless responsible adult or he’s a serial killer. Of course, it could be Dick, bumping off all others that replaced him in Bruce’s affection. Batman should never have slapped him. But I digress.) Batman is in ultra-protective mode. He has his team around him and is determined to save Gotham from a flood caused by a hurricane. Yes, people Batman is concerned with global warming. He couldn’t save Tim but he won’t lose another person, not even to a natural disaster. Of course, this rain splattered night is the very night that Dr Hugo Strange decides to attract Batman’s attention by unleashing a quartet of animal/reanimated human corpse hybrids on Gotham.
The Bat team consists of Batman, Batwoman, Nightwing, Orphan, Spoiler, and Clayface, with Gotham Girl (Tim Drake’s sister?) a chap called Duke (who suits up later on) and Albert all hanging in the Batcave. Batman keeps sending the other members of the team away to carry out more ‘safe’ parts of the job and they keep ignoring him.
The writing by Steve Orlando is okay (I prefer his Midnighter and Apollo stuff), but I don’t quite understand why they didn’t have a collaborative writing team of the writers who write the individual issues to write their particular characters. This would keep a consistent character voice. From what I’ve read after finishing the comic this storyline was one that was used in a Batman comic in the 90s, I don’t know how close this stuck to the original storyline.
As for the art, they at least kept the original artists for the individual runs. Unfortunately, this gave the overall look of this volume a patchwork vibe.
I didn’t like the artwork in the Batman issues, it was wishy-washy with almost a watercolour style yet without any of the colour you would expect from a that art style. It was a study in beige and grey, which did reflect the constant rain quite well, but gave the artwork an almost blurry quality. The figures were indistinct and poorly composed and I found myself squinting at the panels to try and make out the background.
By comparison I much preferred the art for the Nightwing issues. The artwork was much clearer and the characters more defined. It made for a much more enjoyable reading experience. And the art for the Detective comics issues hovered somewhere inbetween with some interesting panels and others not so much.
Overall the volume was okay. I didn’t clip and post and panels that I loved, or that made me laugh, or that were meta, which is an indication that I don’t love the story. I don’t regret reading it but I’m unlikely to read this again or recommend it to readers over other titles.
Titans still remains my favourite volume from the Rebirth series to date.