Overall- Wow, I am really enjoying this storyline. This TPB picks up where the last one leaves off(boy, if that isn't stating the obvious...). If you haven't read War Games Act 1, or my review of it, it might be a good idea to, or you probably won't have the slightest idea as to what's going
on. Hell, with the way I write, you might have no idea what's going on even if you've read these comics! Anyway, early on in this collection, Tim Drake decides to break his promise to his father, and take up the mantle of Robin again. Although Tim is still(justifiably)miffed at Batman for turning Spoiler into the new Robin after his departure, he decides for the good of Gotham City, he has to work with Batman again.
Meanwhile, the Penguin decides to cut off the power to all of Gotham City in an effort to create more panic, which he could then use to further his own nefarious schemes. Batman sends Tarantula to warn the Penguin to leave town or else. After Penguin watches Tarantula cut through his best bodyguards, he decides to leave Gotham for the remainder of the crime wave.
Besides that, Catwoman takes Spoiler to stay with some of Catwoman's friends due to Spoiler feeling terribly responsible for the mob war engulfing the city. Spoiler stays put for a little while, but ends up taking off to try to find Orpheus, a mob boss Batman has in his pocket, in an attempt to salvage the situation. Spoiler figures that she can have Orpheus take over the remaining crime families in Gotham, which should stop the violence in the streets.
Unfortunately for Spoiler, Black Mask has been killing off all of the crime bosses in the hope that he can unite all the Gotham crime families under his fist. Spoiler arrives and tells Orpheus that he might be able to unite the Gotham mobs if he follows Batman's plans. As Spoiler reveals this, Black Mask slips in from behind the two and slices Orpheus' throat, killing him. Black Mask then manages to best Spoiler in combat, and curious about what he heard her tell Orpheus, takes her to his safehouse, where he tortures Spoiler until she tells him how instrumental Orpheus is to Batman's plans to unite the Gotham mobs under Batman's control.
By this time, Batman realizes that everything happening is going exactly the way he drew it up in his plans to take over the Gotham mobs. After some digging, Batman learns that Spoiler was the last person to access his plans on his computer, and realizes that she had to be the one responsible for the violence that has ensued. Batman decides to meet up with Orpheus to tell him what to do next in order to unite the mobs and end the violence plaguing Gotham. Before Batman can arrive to see Orpheus, Black Mask hides Orpheus' body and assumes his identity, tricking Batman into telling him what steps must be taken to unite the mobs.
Besides those main points, there were a mess of smaller occurrences. Hey, the TPB entailed 8 comic books, it's hard to remember every last detail! Spoiler winds up escaping from Black Mask's safe house, but is in really bad shape, and barely makes it out the door, by the end of this TPB, her ultimate fate remains unrevealed. Batman throughout these comics has also become increasingly nasty, bossing Oracle around and then disciplining her whenever she had the "audacity" to try to state her opinion on things. Batman also tells the Police Commissioner at the time, Michael Akins, that he wanted the Commissioner to give him full control over the Gotham Police Department. Needless to say, Akins tells Batman "Hell No", telling Batman that he has no right to boss him or anybody else around. Batman leaves, and then takes control of all of the police systems, telling the Gotham cops where he wants them and how to do their jobs, going completely over the Commissioner's head.
I don't know about anybody else who might have read these comics, but Batman comes across as a real pompous ass here! He basically talks down to EVERYBODY, and dismisses anybody who dares to disagree with him. The way he was talking to Oracle was pretty telling. Oracle has been working with Batman for years, and Batman speaks to her like she's some lowly toady. On top of that, when he commandeers the police systems to order the cops around, he completely locks Oracle out of her own computers, so she can't interfere with his actions. Holy ####, I don't know how anybody can work with Batman! He was such a #### in these comics! He was so bad that I was actually getting some perverse pleasure out of his behavior. Just when you think he can't treat one of his allies any worse, he does!
I think I'll just skip over the stuff with Nightwing in order to maintain my fragile grip on my sanity... Needless to say, Devin Grayson is continuing to write him terribly, which is basically just a carry over from Nightwing's own comics. Tarantula, the murderer and rapist, is shown in a heroic light, while Nightwing is shown as a sobbing amateur... Good God were Nightwing's comics horrible at this point...
Besides the Nightwing crap, I also wasn't particularly pleased with the treatment Spoiler received in these issues. The fact that Black Mask was able to defeat her in hand to hand combat kind of bugged me, she was trained by Batman even if it was only a short time, and I really didn't like the whole torture routine. Sorry, I don't really dig torturing teenaged girls as a way to garner a villain(Black Mask)bad guy credibility. All Spoiler was used for was a plot device to show how evil Black Mask was, which isn't fair to Spoiler, or her fans. I'll be honest when I say that I really don't know much about Spoiler, what I do know has mainly come from my sister, who is the Robin fan of the family, but I don't think Spoiler deserved the crappy treatment she has received in this crossover. I know if I was a Spoiler fan, I would be pissed off at how terribly she has been made to look in these comics.
Other than that, I enjoyed the stuff with Oracle(as usual), Robin, Batgirl, and Catwoman. I had no idea that Ed Brubaker was the writer on Catwoman's solo comic book. It looks like I know what back issues I'll be trying to get my hands on next... All in all, except for the Nightwing issue and the mishandling of Spoiler, this TPB was VERY solid from cover to cover. For a score, I'll go with a 8 1/2 out of 10. Next up to read is War Games Act 3, which is the final TPB dealing with this surprisingly good crossover.