A Shadow War: Alpha #1 Micro-Review – Batman Said What?!?

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Shadow War Alpha 1, cover, 2022, Jonboy MeyersTITLE: Shadow War: Alpha #1
AUTHOR: Joshua Williamson
ARTISTS:
Viktor Bogdanovic, Daniel Henriques (Co-Inker), Mike Spicer (Colorist), Troy Peteri (Letterer). Cover by Jonboy Meyers.

RELEASED: March 30, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This issue was coming along just fine, until we came to a total clunker of a line that’s given to Batman.

Out of what feels like the clear blue sky, Batman tells Damian that he could have prevented Alfred’s murder had he been there. Damian, of course, was there, and was unable to stop it. Granted, father and son are in a heated exchange when this line comes out. But it still feels needlessly harsh, and shoehorned in as a cheap way to manufacture drama. Bad form.

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A Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #1 Micro-Review – Going Old School

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Batman Superman Worlds Finest 1, cover, 2022, Dan MoraTITLE: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #1
AUTHOR: Mark Waid
ARTISTS:
Dan Mora, Tamra Bonvillain (Colorist), Aditya Bidikar (Letterer)

RELEASED: March 15, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

There’s a cheesiness to some of Mark Waid’s dialogue in this issue that’s got a vintage feel. That is, it’s reminiscent of old school superhero comics.

And old school definitely seems to be part of the vibe Waid, Dan Mora, and the team are going for here. We’ve got the classic status quos for both Superman and Batman, the blue and gray Batman costume, etc.

For the time being, Mora and Tamra Bonvillain are the stars here. Their art is what really sells the issue. Their modernized version of the classic Robin suit works well too.

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A Robin & Batman #3 Micro-Review – Sequel, Maybe?

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Robin and Batman 3, cover, 2022, Dustin NguyenTITLE: Robin & Batman #3
AUTHOR: Jeff Lemire
ARTISTS:
Dustin Nguyen, Steve Wands (Letterer)

RELEASED: January 11, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I maintain what I said last time: Robin & Batman feels like a story with a beginning, an end, and then the middle from another story shoved in. That stuff with the Teen Titans from issue #2 felt very out of place to me.

Still, in the broad sense I enjoyed Lemire and Nguyen’s take on Dick Grayson’s early years as Robin. I wish they’d had more issues to work with. Maybe even a series. Then they could have had time to explore both the story with Croc and the Titans stuff.

Sequel, maybe?

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A Batman: The Imposter #3 Micro-Review – Unique, Compelling, and Worthy

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Batman the Imposter 3, cover, 2021, Andrea SorrentinoTITLE: Batman: The Imposter #3
AUTHOR: Mattson Tomlin
ARTISTS: Andrea Sorrentino, Jordie Bellaire (Colorist), Steve Wands (Letterer)

RELEASED: December 14, 2021

With this being the final issue, we can officially call The Imposter a worthy addition to DC’s Black Label imprint. Andrea Sorrentino provides a suitably gritty texture along with often typical outside-the-box layouts. Meanwhile, Mattson Tomlin creates compelling dynamics between his unique takes on Bruce Wayne and Leslie Thompkins. As well as, and more importantly, Bruce and Gotham cop Blair Wong.

Tomlin and Sorrentino’s takes on Ratcatcher and Ventriloquist were also really compelling. Should DC come back to this well, I’d be curious to see how they approach other villains.

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A Batman: The Adventures Continue – Season Two #7 Micro-Review – “Hatter’s Haberdashery”

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

TITLE: Batman: The Adventures Continue – Season Two #7
AUTHORS: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
ARTISTS: Rick Burchett, Monica Kubina (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer). Cover by Jorge Fornes.

RELEASED: December 14, 2021

This being the final issue of Season Two, I can officially say this story wasn’t quite as thrilling or flashy as what we saw from Season One. But it definitely had more real world resonance, with a politician that uses comic book science to capture the public’s adoration. I’ll say it again, this story feels very Trump inspired.

Also, in this issue Batman says “Hatter’s haberdashery” with a straight face. That felt very Batman ’66, but I’ll allow it.

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A Robin & Batman #2 Micro-Review – A Story Without a Middle?

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Robin and Batman 2, cover, 2021, Dustin NguyenTITLE: Robin & Batman #2
AUTHOR: Jeff Lemire
ARTISTS: Dustin Nguyen, Steve Wands (Letterer)

RELEASED: December 14, 2021

Robin & Batman started as a small scale story about Dick Grayson’s early days in Gotham with Batman and Alfred. But in this issue we veered off into a story where he meets the rest of the original Teen Titans for the first time. It’s all well and good by its own merits. But it feels a little bit like Lemire didn’t have a middle for his story, so he plugged in this Titans stuff.

It is, however, very cool to see Dustin Nguyen draw the Teen Titans. It’s usually cool to see Dustin Nguyen’s work in general.

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A Batman ’89 #4 Micro-Review – Ninja Robin

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Batman 89 4, cover, 2021, Joe QuinonesTITLE: Batman ’89 #4
AUTHOR: Sam Hamm
ARTISTS: Joe Quinones, Leonardo Ito (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

RELEASED: December 7, 2021

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m not a fan of this look for Robin. Too much green, not enough red, and a little too far in the ninja direction.

Still, Hamm writes some nice chemistry between Bruce Wayne and our Robin, Drake Winston. I can believe they’d be a team.

The violence in this story between the police and Gotham’s African American community feel very current, despite this taking place in…the mid ’90s?

Quinones draws Two-Face with a fedora in this issue. I like that. It gives him an old school gangster feel.

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A Batman #117 Micro-Review – The End of a Run

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

TITLE: Batman #117
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad
ARTISTS: Jorge Jimenez, Jorge Corona, Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Sarah Stern (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer) Becca Carey (Letterer). Variant cover by Jorge Molina.
RELEASED: November 16, 2021

With this being Tynion’s last issue on Batman, I feel pretty confident saying he had a good run. Although, he didn’t end on the strongest note. “Fear State” ran a couple issues too long. But he had a lot of cool ideas, and really did right by Scarecrow. He turned in something to be proud of.

It speaks volumes that the best part of these last few issues of Batman, one of DC’s biggest and most lucrative books, has been the preview content for Batgirls. I’ve got high hopes for that series.

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A Batman: The Imposter #2 Micro-Review – Armored, Yet Gothic

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

TITLE: Batman: The Imposter #2
AUTHOR: Mattson Tomlin
ARTISTS: Andrea Sorrentino, Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)
RELEASED: November 9, 2021

One of Andrea Sorrentino’s great gifts as an artist is designing stunning, mesmerizing two-page spreads. We saw a lot of those in Gideon Falls, and we get two of them here. He also draws a hell of a Batman. Even as armored up as this version is, he still manages to look dark and gothic. Beautiful work.

The Imposter has a great cinematic quality to it. Which I’m sure isn’t an accident, given The Batman screenwriter Mattson Tomlin’s involvement. It should be one of the first stories one dives into when exploring DC’s original Black Label books.

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A Robin & Batman #1 Micro-Review – Robin’s First Flight

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Robin & Batman 1, cover, 2021, Dustin NguyenTITLE: Robin & Batman #1
AUTHOR: Jeff Lemire
ARTISTS: Dustin Nguyen, Steve Wands (Letterer)
RELEASED: November 9, 2021

I was disappointed to see this story is only going to be three issues. There’s a lot to mine from Batman and Robin’s early adventures, told from Dick Grayson’s point of view. Especially with this creative team.

Jeff Lemire’s writing is mostly on point in terms of characterization, tone, mood, etc. But for my money, Nguyen is the star of this issue. He’s probably one of the most prolific Batman artists of this era. His sketchy-meets-painterly style is a great fit for Gotham City and its characters.

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