Batman #2 drums up an incoming threat that will likely test everyone’s resolve, but we don’t really know exactly what’s coming and to the detriment of the story.
Right now, all we know is that something or someones called the Monster Men are coming, and it’s driving some people crazy. Batman’s handled huge threats before, but it seems like writer Tom King is plotting something huge, though something can be said for speed of the issue’s pacing.
After someone lets Solomon Grundy loose in Gotham City, Batman comes to the rescue. The new Gotham duo, while incredibly powerful, have a lot of learning to do, and both get a taste of that trademark Bat-disapproval — enough to make them both glad they didn’t have to pay their dues as Robins in order to live in Batman’s shadow.
When Bruce goes over tape of the battle, he and Alfred Pennyworth discuss the Dark Knight’s mortality, and it’s apparent that Wayne is coming to grips with being a veteran in the superhero world. He decides to bring the Gotham duo under his wing, so to speak, because necessity demands it.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Jim Gordon — it’s so good to see him in a trenchcoat and heading the GCPD again — meets a man who confesses to releasing Grundy. The conversation turns grim, and Gordon knows he has a call to make. The bat signal is lit, and Bats brings his new proteges to the GCPD rooftop for a briefing.
And that’s pretty much the gist of the issue — it’s really lean fare. Besides Batman singlehandedly — and I mean literally single-handed — putting Grundy down, the issue doesn’t really have any other high notes save the scene where the confessing man puts a knife into his own neck.
I wonder if the bi-monthly thing had something to do with it, but things seemed rushed this issue. We get enough to know what Bruce Wayne’s motivations are, but we only get just enough to justify the introduction and additions of all these new characters who are used to shovel the plot through.
David Finch’s art doesn’t look like it’s suffering from the bi-monthly due dates — Danny Miki is credited as an artist, and he may have done a fair share of the pencils — but fans of Finch know he shines when his characters have more to do than sit around and talk. Without the story carrying its share of the load, the artwork becomes dressing for an empty stage.
Batman #2 lacks urgency, and there isn’t enough backstory to make what happens in these 20 or so pages a trigger for your pulse. Miss Waller and Dr. Hugo Strange make a cameo, but it’s all alluding to some new plan, and King doesn’t give us enough to make us care.
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