This is like two comics in one!
There's one that I can follow, and this one makes sense. Then there's another one that feels like it was dropped into the first comic for no reason. Do you feel me?
It makes for a really strange read. I liked the Batman plot, which was the one I could follow. It was interesting and engaging from the get go. More on that later.
But this other plot? The subplot? The sideplot? The interlude? WTF? Is it just me, or did it seem like someone f'ed up in the old editing room? Who are these three non-Batman dudes with bad teeth walking around talking about a monster? Are they talking about The Croc, the only monster that had already shown up in this comic book? Of course not! That would tie everything together - and why do that?
I was further confused when I was introduced to the home of Jason Blood. With a name like Jason Blood, you know I got excited, because I assumed he had to be a vampire. I could totally use some good vampire action right about now. But nope! No no no. He's just some sort of creepy looking Bruce Banner-ish dude who turns into a monster. I am told that, actually, he turns into a Demon from Hell, which I guess means he's on vacation from the side of a van, which is what he looks like. But that's fine! That's totally whatever! I'll just jump to the conclusion that this is the very monster that our 3 wandering friends are afraid of. But again, no. Wrong again! That, too, would have made sense. And yet, Jason Blood is just one more random monster. There's actually another monster, and it turns out this new one is the one the three dudes were referencing, and he shows up at the very end. (After I read Dark Knight, I found out that this new thing at the end is some kind of monster-fied version of Ragman, who is reportedly one of the few Jewish super-heroes. I think it's really silly that these characters have religious backgrounds.)
Now. What do these three characters--Jason Blood, The Demon from Hell and the crazy scary Jewish monster--have to do with Batman?
Can you see why I'm confused?
So, I'm just going to dismiss all of that stuff because of its utter uselessness to me as a reader. I didn't enjoy reading it, it didn't add anything to my experience of the comic, and even after finding out who those characters were, I don't feel like there was anything here TO get out of them. Thankfully for me, there was plenty to deal with in the Batman storyline.
I love that this comic starts on the first page. There's no title page, crazy page of introductions, and no recap. Just, boom, the comic starts. It's like "hey, this is Batman. You don't need us to explain Batman, do you? Cuz fuck you, here's Batman." And then we start right in the action. I kinda love it. First of all - The Penguin! I just love when I know a character. I mean, I don't know that much about him. But he was even in the Batman show that I used to watch reruns of when I was little. So, I felt right at home from the very beginning. He's disgusting!
And then, there was just some cool, fun comic book stuff that, well, I don't think one could get away with in any other medium then comic books. Like, that whole thing with the guns and the wire, and how the wire gets touched and becomes a metal rope that ties everybody up so that Batman can shock all of them in one neat bundle of shocked people...I can't explain it, you just gotta see it in print.
It's not realistic whatsoever, but who cares? It's a cool idea and totally works in a comic book. It's pretty genius, actually. One of those "how's he ever gonna get out of this one" moments for the Batman--and he "gets out of it" in a way that's totally sci-fi and unreal, but still fits with the whole "he's Batman, dummy" thing.
The same type of thing happens later, in reverse, at the end of the comic. Honestly, I laughed out loud when the Penguin, via TV or Skype or whatever disgusting manner of video communication he prefers, tortures Batman by showing him a video feed of the girl/woman this whole issue is about finding, and the Penguin warns him to not get too excited because the bombs that are surrounding him are hooked up to his heart rate. !!! Yeeeeeeeeaaaaaah RIGHT! That's not even possible!! But I totally LOVE IT! Again, genius way to create an obstacle and create tension. And yes, I am as shocked as you are that I'm enjoying it this much.
The rest of this book? WhatEVER! Stick to Batman. That part seems to be all figured out.
-Nina Stone, 2011