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Review: Batman #698

How is Tony Daniel's new arc so far?

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  There are plenty of on-going Batman books going on right now, and this main title seems to get lost in the shuffle. Tony Daniel starts a new arc here, writing, as an old Batman foe returns to best the Dark Knight. Daniel's last story I felt was sub-par, up until that very last issue when he revealed who the new Black Mask was. Tony Daniel is known for his art, but in this second story, he seems to be filling in as a writer much better. This new story gets back into something I've always been a fan of. Who's the better detective? Batman or Riddler?

The Good:

As I said before, I have not been impressed with Daniel's writing, until this issue. He brought back my favorite dynamic between any hero and villain. The competitiveness between Batman and Riddler for the "who's the better detective" award. Aside from that, Daniel introduces a new villain, or at least one that is new to me, who is incredibly intriguing. For once, I want to know more. As much as it seems like I'm bashing Daniel, I'm not. For me, the difference between this issue and the last arc is night and day so far. Daniel does a great job of giving the reader what they want but not too much, so they'll come back for more. This book starts off by going over some unresolved jazz from the previous story arc. I love seeing elements of the last story spill over into the next one, but enough about me praising Daniel, let's talk art. The one great thing I could say about Guillem March's art is that I really like how he sets up action. But more than just the action, the composition of said panels in one scene of this book really creates a sense of danger and timeliness. The scene is obvious if you've read the issue. I also liked when March would take a panel and pay homage to someone else's style. Some may call it ripping off, but it's way too obvious to be considered ripping off. The most obvious of them all is the homage to the Dark Knight by Frank Miller.


The Bad:

There were times when I March's art was a little much. Sometimes characters would fade into the background. Also, Dick Grayson, and a few other characters, looks Asian. That element of sensitive-tough-guy Dick has always had just turned into sensitive asian in this issue. I don't feel as though Dick had any level of intimidation outside of the costume. I'm not saying he has to be super-tough when he's Dick because he's never been like that, but it feels like he's a little wussed out in this issue as himself. In costume, he's still fine though.

The Verdict:

 I'm a Riddler fanboy, and this issue is Riddler heavy. So I'm pretty sure the score got bumped up a little because of it. But in all honesty, this was a pretty solid issue if you can get by the minor art problems I mentioned. For the first time, in a long time, I'm actually excited to see where this story goes. If this book continues to be this solid, it would easily become my favorite Bat-book.