Comic Vine Review


Batman Annual #2 - Cages Review


Batman is put to the test as he is locked up in Arkham Asylum. The attention of a certain inmate sets out to get in the way of Batman's plans.

The Good

When the preview for this issue was released, we only saw that Batman seemingly turned himself in to be locked up at Arkham Asylum. It's an odd way to start out the annual and soon gives us a different look at the place.

The reason why Batman is being locked up at the Asylum might be a tiny bit of a spoiler but it also makes for a great topic in the story. The truth is Batman has allowed himself to be locked up at the asylum in order to help test the facility. This is pure brilliance.

How many times have we discussed the fact that inmates (especially the Joker) simply come and go as they please from Arkham. Seeing Batman actually take part in assessing their security and offering advice or pointing out weaknesses is fantastic.

It's through this test that Batman catches the interest of an inmate we haven't seen before. The reason for a conflict between the two soon develops and it creates an interesting look at both characters.

The story is by Scott Snyder and Marguerite Bennett by written by Bennett. It definitely has the proper Batman feel to it and the glimpses we see into Batman's mind, reflecting on his recent past events is great.

Wes Craig's interpretation of Arkham makes it a formidable place. For all the deadly villains locked up there, this is the sort of place you would expect to see. Hopefully Bruce Wayne is helping to cover some of the costs in running the place.

The Bad

This was a case when seeing Batman in brighter lit areas makes him look a little weird. Craig's pencils are good but there were moments when the New 52 costume looks a little weird on Bruce.

There is a loose tie to Zero Year. It does feel a little forced despite Snyder's involvement with the story.

The motive for "villain" was okay. It gave us an interesting story but was a little extreme. Poor Batman was only trying to do the right thing.

I wasn't sure of the time frame right away. With the mention of Zero Year on the cover, I was briefly under the impression that this whole story took place back in that time. Seeing a costumed Batman was confusing until it became clear that it was occurring in the present.

The Verdict

It's a wonderful thing to have an annual that has a self-contained story. Set in Arkham Asylum, Scott Snyder and Marguerite set up a long overdue story and it's about time Batman takes some responsibility for the enemies he's sent there. The new "villain" introduced might have some questionable motives but it gives us the opportunity to see Batman face a new threat. This is a slightly different Batman story than we normally see. Delving into who Batman is as he fights a villain he's not completely prepared for, the story grabs your attention and you'll definitely want to see how it all plays out.

Avatar image for ddrohan
Posted By ddrohan

I thought the ending was weak. How Exactly Did The Batman Defeat The Anchoress? Or Did she give up or what? and then what was he going to do? beat her to death? he couldn't hit her, she walks thru walls, remember? Nah, it wasn't so good.

Avatar image for derf_jenkins
Posted By derf_jenkins

I don't necessarily like giving a number of a rating. I just think afterwards and reflect on whether I enjoyed my time while reading the issue or not. Does it entertain me? I had a good time with this issue. I don't think I am as impressed with the current Batman run as some people are, but I would say that I enjoy the issues and am nowhere close to dropping it anytime soon.

Avatar image for xblah_blahx
Posted By xblah_blahx

A very good one shot annual. Just like annuals should be. I agree with the 4/5 rating. Exactly what I would have given it.

Avatar image for batmannflash
Posted By batmannflash

I would have given it a 5 because I thought it was one of the issues of Snyder's New 52 Batman. It was awesome seeing him break out of Arkham and then encounter the Anchoress

Avatar image for soumya
Posted By soumya

I was expecting some involvement of the Red hood gang since "zero year" was written in the cover...nonetheless it was a good story.

Avatar image for iaconpoint
Posted By iaconpoint
Avatar image for noj
Edited By noj
Avatar image for cobra88king8
Posted By cobra88king8

This is a prime example of what makes a good annual. A oneshot issue that would fill like filler and feel rushed normally, turned into a full story and given room to breath. One complaint I do have though is that it's not like any of the traps that Batman tests are actually going to stick and appear in the future unless it's something written by Snyder. Every author is going to ignore them.

Avatar image for fatesgambler
Edited By FatesGambler

Was I only person who thought that the ending might lead to the guy that helped Batman, I forgot his name, become a future villain?

Avatar image for captainhoopla
Posted By CaptainHoopla

I thought this was just ok. Probably a 3/5 for me. The so called zero year tie-in was definitely forced and unnecessary and Batman had nothing to do with stopping the threat. Overall I think it was a good story idea, just not very well executed.

Avatar image for longbowhunter
Posted By longbowhunter

Wes Craig was a poor choice for a story this creepy. I believe he'll be doing pencils for Rick Remender's Deadly Class. In that instance I'm sure he'll be a good fit but a Batman artist he is not. I actually liked the Anchoress. Her origin and powers were a bit dubious but I enjoyed her perspective on Batman. Oh and that Zero Year bit could not have been more shoe horned in. Give me a break.

Avatar image for fatesgambler
Posted By FatesGambler

I thought the issue was pretty awesome because it touched on the issue of how Batman's arrival brought in crazy and how Arkham changed from trying to help patients get better, to only being a holding cell.

I did however have issue with a certain page, and how the new "villain" just seems like a one shot character

I do have to ask if it is canon that Lincoln is indeed Bruce's brother?

Avatar image for manwithoutshame
Edited By manwithoutshame

Solid issue. Not as good as the first annual, but still really good.

Avatar image for cc1738
Edited By cc1738

I didn't like the art. I honestly had trouble getting into the story.

Avatar image for thetimestreamer
Edited By theTimeStreamer

@theacidskull: true. i'll tell ya this from the issue: batman says that two-face can talk someone into submission to open his cell. and batman's actual methods of escaping are compared to various villains methods but the thing is none of his villains have all of the powers of the other villains. it is so dumb.

Avatar image for thetimestreamer
Posted By theTimeStreamer

@theacidskull: 100% no croc. read it and it's a huge meh borderline bad.

Avatar image for booster_bronze
Posted By Booster_Bronze

I dunno, I usually like Snyder's Batman stories, and I too thought this was going to take place totally in year zero. I can appreciate what Bennett was trying to do, but the new villain, the Anchoress, felt a little repetitious. She kept saying the same things over and over again until I was like "OK OK OK I get it, I understand your motives". I could have been happy with the Arkham testing thing as its own story, but combined with the Anchoress it felt a little weird. I feel mixed on it, and would probably only give it three out of five stars for a "meh" issue.

Avatar image for lvenger
Posted By lvenger

@theacidskull: Not according to the page entry for this issue. Sorry man.

Avatar image for mucklefluga
Edited By Mucklefluga

@g_man: That's cool. Well if she's as great as Tynion then she'll be a great addition to DC Comics.

@theacidskull: Not according to the comic's page.

Avatar image for stevencarver_
Edited By stevencarver_

Wow, this was a really really good issue. I give it 5 stars because it was daring and different. It definitely paid off. Highly recommended.

Avatar image for hawkguy
Posted By Hawkguy

I really liked this, especially the part on the rooftop when the anchoress says:

"I was healing, until you!" (Something alone those lines). The feels on that page...

Avatar image for gmanfromheck
Posted By gmanfromheck

@mucklefluga: Yes. That's what I meant by it really had a "Batman feel" to it. I got to briefly meet Marguerite at SDCC. Can't wait to see more from her.

Avatar image for mucklefluga
Edited By Mucklefluga

Hmm, i got the idea that this issue was set in the past too. Also it's nice to see another one of Scott's students co-writing with him.