Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Batman: War Games: TPB #1

Overall- Whoo boy, I just breezed through this TPB in about an hour, so let's see what I can remember here... Well, before I even get into this TPB, I guess I should give some background into this whole War Games crossover. Basically, all you have to know going in is that all of the Batman family of comics were given a part of this crossover, and that the crossover itself ran for at least 25 issues, which is ALOT of comics involved in one main storyline. I have the whole storyline in the form of 3 TPB's, which covers all the War Games related comics, thanks to my sister.

OK, War Games opens with Spoiler, the Gotham based vigilante who had the distinction of being the only female Robin, overseeing a major meeting among all the biggest mob bosses in Gotham. All the mob bosses had received a anonymous summons to meet, and come with hired bodyguards, who are needless to say, a little jumpy. As Spoiler watches in horror from a nearby rooftop, one idiot bodyguard reaches for a lighter, which another thug fears is a gun, which leads to all the mobsters shooting at each other. After the carnage subsides, Spoiler realizes that out of the 21 thugs who arrived at the meeting, only 8 were able to get away. Good riddance to bad rubbish you say? Not so fast. With so many of the mob leaders dead, power struggles begin within the criminal organizations in Gotham, which soon leads into widespread mob turf wars all throughout Gotham City.

So, Gotham is a complete mess, with the remaining mob factions trying to either consolidate their power bases, or wipe out the leaderless competition. Batman gets in touch with Batgirl, Nightwing, and Oracle, as well as a few other Bat-allies, and tries to contain the unchecked mob violence.

I could obviously go over all 9 issues presented in this comic with a fine tooth comb, and explain page by page what happened, but that would take WAY to long, and I have to get up relatively early tomorrow for my U.S. History class. So, instead, I'll go over the major plot points. Since she is a pretty major point in these issues, I guess I'll hit on Spoiler's story quickly. Spoiler was the girlfriend of Tim Drake, AKA Robin. Tim was forced to resign as Robin after his father found out Tim was vigilante following the orders of a costumed billionaire. Batman, decides to make Spoiler into his new Robin, I think mainly to #### with Tim's mind, and ultimately get him to come back as Robin.

Well, Spoiler isn't up to Batman's lofty standards, and after she slightly botches a mission, he fires her and bans her from fighting crime in Gotham. In order to prove her worth to Batman, Spoiler takes plans from Batman's computer, which were supposed to unite the Gotham mobsters under a Batman controlled mobster, Matches Malone. We find out that Spoiler was the one who sent out the anonymous messages to the mob bosses, in the hopes that Matches would unite the Gotham mobs and Spoiler could report her success to Batman. Well, Batman being Batman, neglected to inform Spoiler during her brief run as Robin that HE was Matches Malone.

So, since Spoiler never informs Batman of her plans, Matches can never show up to the meeting, which just causes the mobsters to get jumpier with each passing moment, until they start shooting at each other. So, basically, you can either lay the blame for the whole mob massacre at the feet of Spoiler, who put the plans into motion, or Batman, who allowed Spoiler to become Robin without telling her all of his secrets, such as the identity of Matches Malone. I personally would blame Batman, since the only reason Spoiler was Robin, and had access to his plans was because he was feuding with Tim Drake, but that's just me.

Also from this issue, we find the Penguin getting richer thanks to the decreased competition from the dead mob bosses. Nightwing arrives, and is soon followed by Tarantula. Tarantula takes over one of the Latin gangs and keeps them off the streets. Tim Drake, the former Robin, has to deal with the mob war when his school is attacked by mobsters looking to kidnap/kill the daughter of an Italian mob boss. Tim manages to hold off the many different mobsters, but the mafia princess winds up getting shot. When Batman finds out Tim's school is under attack, he has Nightwing and Batgirl meet him at the school building, so they can assist Tim in holding off the mobsters inside, as well as get the students trapped inside to safety.

Nightwing manages to find Tim, and Batman, Batgirl and Nightwing manage to take out the mobsters who had made it into the school. Batman carries the injured girl out of the school, which gives the media their first photographs of Batman. Catwoman who acts as the protector/mob boss of the east side of Gotham, fights off Mr. Freeze, before discovering Spoiler trying to fight off some thugs. After lending Spoiler a hand, Spoiler ends up confiding to Catwoman that she was the one who set up the fateful mob meeting, and feels responsible for the ensuing violence. Catwoman, who knows that Bruce Wayne, Batman and Matches Malone are all the same man, seems to blame Batman for the whole mess due to him not telling Spoiler who Matches actually was. Also, throughout these comics, a mysterious figure is trying to gather his own criminal forces together in order to make a name for himself as the top mob boss in the decimated Gotham City.

Whew. A lot happened in these issues, and I enjoyed most of it thoroughly. Naturally, I was pissed off to see Tarantula follow Nightwing to Gotham(I HATE her). Besides that, for a story that crossed through so many different comics and writers, the main storyline was very coherent and easy to follow. So, War Games TPB #2 should follow up on the revelation that Spoiler was inadvertently responsible for starting the whole mess, as well as return Tim Drake to the mantle of Robin. Besides those two things, I'd guess we'll also discover who the mystery villain is, along with discover how Batman tries to contain the ever escalating crisis. For an overall score for this TPB, I'd go with a 9 out of 10. I can honestly say I enjoyed Act 1, and can't wait to start reading Act 2 tomorrow.

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