Hey X-Maniacs, after a one day reviewing hiatus, I'm back with the two Bat-related comics I promised yesterday. Since I've already delayed long enough, let's just get right to them.
Batman: Gates of Gotham #4(of 5):
Summary: This issue kicks off with the Architect attacking Robin and Red Robin(did Dick Grayson really think it was a good idea to team those two up?) in the home of Dillon May(who I suspect will have a hand in the outcome of this one). The Robins alert Batman to their plight, and are, rather surprisingly, handled by the Architect. Batman(Dick Grayson) and Black Bat begin to make their way to the scene of the battle, which ends when Robin kicks a support beam, separating the Robins from Architect. By the time Bats and Black Bat arrive on the scene, the Architect has flown the coop, leaving Bats and his allies one step behind yet again. Fortunately though, the Bat-clan manage to find the journal of one of the Gates Brothers in the rubble, which provides insight into why the Architect was acting as he was. That knowledge, coupled with Bats knowing where the Architect will next strike(The Kane Bridge), has Bats feeling that he'll be able to stop the Architect by proving that everything he believed was a lie. With that, Bats sends the Robins back to the Bat Bunker for some patching up, while he takes Black Bat towards the Kane Bridge for the final confrontation with the Architect.
Thoughts: I enjoyed this issue, probably more than any other issue of this mini-series. The pacing was quite good, the story was solid, everything moved along at a nice, brisk speed. Yes, the Robins getting beaten up by a no-name new villain was kind of wrong, but it didn't bug me as much as it probably should have... I guess I was in a good mood when I read this one. I'll admit that I was glad that the flashbacks wrapped up this issue, while I get why they were there and all, they did hurt the flow of this mini for me, especially early on. Um, that's about all I've got to say about this one... Let's move on.
Score: 8 out of 10.Damn, Saint Timmy sure has looked pretty bad this mini-series...
DC Retroactive: Batman - The '80's #1:
Summary: Yes, that's the official title of this comic... This is one of those Retro type titles DC put out this month for some bizarre reason... I mean seriously, since they're going to blow up the current DCU to create a Johns-topia, why bother with these? But that has nothing to do with the review itself. For the record though, the ONLY reason I picked this one up was because I saw that it had Jason Todd as Robin in it as I flipped through it at the comic shop, so there you go. This issue kicks off with Batman and Robin watching Professor Paxton concocting evil plots with his band of gangsters. The Dynamic Duo are shocked when the Reaper bursts into the room and begins to attack the mobsters. Paxton's daughter, who was assisting him in his criminal enterprises, helps her father beat a hasty retreat while the Reaper manages to sneak away from the Dynamic Duo during the fracas. After the fight, Bats heads to Commissioner Gordon and meets Gotham's new district attorney, a guy named Samuels. Bats informs the two that it seemed the Reaper was back in town before heading out to check on the Reaper's daughter, who was a nun. Bats checks the woman's convent, and finds that Sister Rachel wasn't there... Hmm... Paxton calls a meeting with another Gotham mob leader, Tommy Garnett and his son, Johnny. Batman is able to gain entrance to the meeting by disguising himself as one of Tommy's goons. While the mobsters are trying to figure out what to do about the Reaper, the Reaper bursts in and attacks the gathering, forcing Bats to reveal his duplicity to try to save the mobsters. Bats signals to Robin, who crashes through the wall with the Batmobile, which causes the Reaper to throw down some smoke to obscure the scene. By the time the smoke has cleared, Tommy Garnett and Professor Paxton are both dead at the hands of the Reaper. Bats, being the world's greatest detective and all that jazz, has not only managed to deduce that the Reaper was holed up at a construction site(based on a broken piece of the Reaper's scythe), but also the Reaper's true identity, which he doesn't share with Robin because he's a jerk. The Dynamic Duo head to the construction site and Bats tells Robin to find Sister Rachel, which surprises Robin since she was his top suspect. While Robin is sneaking around the site, Bats is walking around, knocking over pipes and making all sorts of noise to draw out the Reaper. This ploy works, but the Reaper knocks Bats into a hole and begins to fill it with concrete before leaving to deal with Robin. Robin has managed to find Sister Rachel tied to a chair and is in the process of freeing her when the Reaper enters the room. The Reaper throws some threats at Robin, but is surprised when Bats enters the room(yes, he escaped the concrete filled hole... It really wasn't THAT great a deathtrap!). A second Reaper enters the room to help Reaper #1, at which point Batman reveals to Robin that the two Reapers were Professor Paxton's daughter and Tommy Garnett's son, both of whom wanted their parents out of the way so they could take over the two crime families. The two Reapers attack, but are quickly knocked out by the Dynamic Duo. With the Reapers down and out, Robin figures the case is closed... Until Bats reveals that there was still one more person to deal with, at which time DA Samuels enters the room with a shotgun, revealing that HE was the brains behind the whole Reaper ordeal. It seems Samuels convinced the two Reapers to kill their fathers, at which point he was going to kill them, becoming the man who crippled Gotham's gangs, as well as killed the Reapers and avenged the death of the Batman. Samuels takes aim at Bats with his shotgun, but is fatally impaled by Professor Paxton's daughter, who had heard Samuels' entire confession. Paxton's daughter is shot during the murder, and is tended to by Sister Rachel, which allows Batman and Robin the chance to leave, with another case solved. There was also a reprint of Detective Comics #575 in this comic, but after how long the review for the main story was, I'm going to spare us all by skipping a review for that issue.
Thoughts: What can I say, I'm a sucker for 1980's, Jason Todd-as-Robin Batman comics. Add a decent story, a fun little mystery, with a triple-cross, and I'm a happy camper. The story wasn't anything super special, and Batman figuring out that there were THREE people portraying the Reaper was a bit ridiculous, even for Bats, but I'm not upset in the least that I spent $5 on this one. For me, a fan of the era, it was money well spent.
Score: 8 out of 10.Jason sitting on the telephone book while driving the Batmobile was a cute little touch here.