Overview

Batman #652

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Batman #652

Credits

  • Words: James Robinson
  • Art: Don Kramer
  • Inks: Michael Bair & Wayne Faucher
  • Colors: John Kailsz
  • Story Title: Face the Face, Part 4
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Apr 26, 2006

Many of Batman’s lesser villains are coming to gruesome ends. Batman thinks he knows who is responsible. But is the world’s greatest detective wrong?

The "Face the Face" storyline happening one year after Infinite Crisis is taking Batman down an interesting road. This issue begins with Bullock, Batman, and Robin at the scene of a deadly crime involving the Ventriloquist. Batman follows a few clues and shows the readers why he is known as the World’s Greatest Detective. He is led to the man he placed in charge of protecting Gotham in his yearlong absence. Naturally, an explosive confrontation ensues. Meanwhile, Robin gets to take on the second-stringer, Killer Moth.

It has been a year since Batman was seen in Gotham and Robinson leaves the reader to fill in the blanks. Though this makes understanding some of the drama troublesome, the story flows well and it can be fun trying to figure out what has happened the past year and why exactly the Caped Crusader was gone. We also get to see some of the reasoning behind his new attitude. It clearly isn’t as simple as a planet smashing, insane Superboy creating one "perfect" earth. Batman has learned quite a lot about his behavior over the past year. He has realized many things, not least among them is why having a sidekick is important:

I’ve gone through times doubting the need for a sidekick. Now I see. The brightness of him. I need to see that light more. I need hope.

He’s fully realized why understanding is just as powerful as his righteous indignation. Not only that, but in a stroke of creative genius, Robinson uses Batman’s main suspect to solidly bring back one of the Dark Knight’s driving motifs—guilt.

And Kramer’s pencils and Bair and Faucher’s inks keep the story moving well. This Batman is fun to look at, though his world is creepy and full of blood and gore, it is clearly a comic book world. I don’t know if that is what DC is going for, countering the influx of independent companies with reality-esque stories and artists. But if that is what it is doing, with Batman, it is successful. The line work is dark, smooth when appropriate, heavy when needed. It looks like a comic book is supposed to look—bigger, better, brighter, and darker than the real world. I’m not a follower of Kramer’s art but based on his work in Batman, I think he is underrated. However, if he keeps it up, that status will change.

In "Face the Face" our hero is investigating a post-modern kind of crime with a classic attitude and look. One thing’s for sure: it’s more enjoyable than any Batman story that has hit the shelves in quite a while.

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