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    Batman #8-#12 by Ammar Al Subahi


    Batman #8

    Publisher: DC Comics
    Writer: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV (back-up)
    Artist: Greg Capullo & Rafael Albuquerque (back-up)
    Inker: Jonathan Glapion
    Colorist: FCO & Dave McCaig (back-up)

    Rating: 4/5

    Premise: The Bat strikes back! Plus, the story of Jarvis Pennyworth, and his mysterious death.

    Last issue ended with the Court of Owls sending an army of Talons to retake Gotham City, targeting the social and political elite of Gotham. One of those targets was Bruce Wayne himself, but the Talons found out he wasn't exactly an easy target. Still, they managed to push Batman back to the darkest part of his sanctuary, the Batcave. However, this Bat intends to go down fighting, and by God, he is sick of Owls by now.

    Simply an amazing action issue. Batman is kicking ass and taking names, bringing the fight back to the Court. The fight over the soul of Gotham is culminating, and I'm glad to see that everyone involved here is bringing their A-game. And as always, Capullo simply amazes as a visual storyteller.

    The back-up, drawn by Rafael Albuquerque (who drew the previous back-up feature), colored by Dave McCaig, and co-written by Snyder and James Tynion IV (Really? The fourth? They are that lazy?) is about Jarvis Pennyworth, Alfred's father and trusted butler of Thomas and Martha Wayne. As far as I can tell, this is a completely new character, and I'm not sure I like the way they are mucking around with history here; does this mean Alfred only came around only a few year before Bruce's parents' death? I thought he'd been around for quite a while before that.

    Anyhow, Jarvis is writing a letter to his son: don't come to Gotham, this place stinks, and there lies a curse over Wayne manor. Encouraging words. However, Jarvis has his reasons, as we slowly find out.

    I enjoy creators adding to the history of these big iconic characters like Batman. However, I don't like when creators mess around with it too much. This feels more like the latter. Still, it's nice to see glimpses of Bruce's past, and unlike Detective Comics, this seems to actually tie in to the main story. And kudos for finally giving Martha some air time as well. I'm not that big on the art, but I like the contrast in colors in the different setting: warm and welcoming orange and brown colours from the day time scenes inside the manor, bleak teal for the outdoor night scenes. It's a simple device that works well.

    Great issue overall.

    Batman #9

    Publisher: DC Comics
    Writer: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV (back-up)
    Artist: Greg Capullo & Rafael Albuquerque (back-up)
    Inker: Jonathan Glapion
    Colorist: FCO & Dave McCaig (back-up)

    Rating: 4/5

    Premise: In a moment of desperation, Batman decides to fight back by whipping out some of his arsenal in the Batcave. Plus, the story of Jarvis Pennyworth continued

    Last issue the Talons drove back Batman into the Batcave. They eventually find their way into the cave, but Batman has a special surprise for them: a big ass suit of armor. Now Bruce is pissed as hell and he's decided to take these guys out.

    And the team keeps delivering! Great action, great fun. Simple as that. Can't wait to see how this ends.

    On the flipside, however, is the back-up. Sorry, I'm just not really feeling it. It ties into the main story, sure. But I really don't like the revisionist approach with Jarvis. In my opinion, it takes away too much from Alfred's influence to Bruce Wayne's origins. Still, like I said before, it's nice to finally see Martha Wayne getting some exposure. I really can't recall ANY time she's actually even spoken a word in any Batman book before this (with the exception of "eeeh!" *bang* "uuurgghhh..." of course). That's at least something.

    Batman #10

    Publisher: DC Comics
    Writer: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV (back-up)
    Artist: Greg Capullo & Rafael Albuquerque (back-up)
    Inker: Jonathan Glapion
    Colorist: FCO & Dave McCaig (back-up)

    Rating: 4/5

    Premise: Batman brings the fight back to the Owls' hiding place and finds the true evil behind it all. Oh, and more Jarvis.

    Last issue Batman found the secret hiding place of the Court. This issue, he hunts them down, and finds out that... well, we'll come to that.

    So, okay. First part of this issue? Brilliant. Great set-up, I thought. First providing with a slight anti-climax, only then to have Batman figure it all out at the end, finding out about the brains behind the Owls. Very old school stuff, but masterfully done. Everything comes together (even the back-up), and all of it comes full circle. Not to mention the art is extraordinary.

    Buuuut...

    There's the issue of the identity of the big bad villain behind it all, which I'm not very fond of. Nothing conclusive yet, but it sure does point to... that. Let me just say it like this: if you thought Jarvis was an unneccessary inclusion to the Bat-mythos, well, wait until you get a load of this guy.

    Still a great issue, though. Let's see how this plays out.

    Batman #11

    Publisher: DC Comics
    Writer: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV (back-up)
    Artist: Greg Capullo & Rafael Albuquerque (back-up)
    Inker: Jonathan Glapion
    Colorist: FCO & Dave McCaig (back-up)

    Rating: 4/5

    Premise: It's brother vs brother, Bat vs Owl, as we finally conclude this epic saga (oh, and the conclusion of the Jarvis storyline).

    The true evil behind the Court of Owls, the mustacchio twirling fiend in the background has been revealed to be none other than Lincoln March, a.k.a Thomas Wayne Jr. Bruce Wayne's BROTHER. OooooooooOoooOoooohhhhh...!

    The artwork is great, and I specifically like Owlman's design. The contrasting white to Batman's black was a nice little touch.

    But (there's always a but), the issue itself, or rather the big fight between the two of them, was pretty corny. Maybe a little bit too much at some points (the airplane sequence). Sure, the book has not been shy about revealing itself as a superhero comic book with the more cartoony touches (Capullo's art alone ought to signal that), but this issue, it's a little bit too much, I thought. Maybe I am exagerating, but that's how I felt.

    Still, in the end, it's still a pretty great issue. The conversation between Dick and Bruce at the end was great. And Snyder does manage to put the genie back into the bottle by suggesting "Thomas" might not really be who he thinks he is.

    If it wasn't for the Jarvis back-up, I would've given the previous issues a rating of 5. Maybe not this one, though.

    Overall, I've had a blast reading this. And I can't wait until the upcoming Joker storyline begins.

    Batman #12

    Publisher: DC Comics
    Writer: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
    Artist: Becky Cloonan & Andy Clarke
    Inker: Sandu Florea
    Colorist: FCO

    Rating 1.5/5

    Premise: The origin of Harper Row.

    Who?

    Harper Row. That little goth emo chick from Batman #6 who saved Bruce from drowning.

    Whuh-Why?

    Beats me.

    This is the story of Harper Row, a little teenage hoodrat living with her gay brother in some kind of bad neighborhood (they get beat up alot). The origin story nobody asked for. This issue answers who she is, and sort of answers why she seemed so obsessed with Batman (and how come he seemed to recognize her).

    Joining Snyder in the writer's seat this issue is James Tynion IV, the guy who did the Jarvis back-ups (which you might recall, I was not a big fan of). And I'm sorry to say, but this issue the gentlemen disappoint: Boooooooooooring.

    I don't care for Harper. I don't care for the transparent attempt to make her more sympathetic by having her sticking up for his brother because ultimately, there's no point to the character. She was a deus ex machina back in Batman #6, and now they are trying to somehow justify her existence. I hope this is the last we see of her.

    Subbing for Capullo this issue are Becky Cloonan and Andy Clarke. I don't recognize Clarke from before, but I remember Cloonan from her brief stint on the current Conan series. I liked her art on Conan, but I feel it was somewhat off this issue. The dark coloring didnt help out either. I thought specifically that her black/blue/purple colour scheme made Harper sort of anonymous as she never really stood out in my mind in the bleak atmosphere of Gotham. The more colourful scenes (like the Wayne banquet) were much better, and complemented Cloonan's style. Still I can see why they picked Cloonan for this issue. Her art has a very "teen-y" feel to it, and that's fitting in a story dealing with teenagers. Still, I think she would've made a better fit for Robin than Batman.

    As for Clarke, I just couldn't get behind his art this issue. I think it's mostly because he takes over right at at the end of the issue, with no real good transition going on for it. I hate when this type of stuff happens mid-arc, and I REALLY hate when it happens mid-issue.

    An extremely disappointing issue for me. Can't we just go on with the Joker story, already?