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Review: Batman #699

Dick Grayson meets Sebastian Blackwell...

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Tony Daniel works solely on the writing for this issue, leaving the pencils to artist Guillem March. The fact that the last two issues in this series have been more organized and more eloquently structured further reinforces what I have been saying all along: Tony Daniel works better  when he is either writing or drawing, but not when he is pulling double duty.

The Good

Firefly has been a more prominent villain in the Batman universe, appearing first in Batman: Streets of Gotham, and now again in Batman #699. Daniel writes a great Firefly and transitions well from the present to a flashback and again to the present storyline rather effortlessly through the use of some really strong dialogue. The story moves with a lot of fluidity, and is aided well by March's pencils. I am not sure whether these two work well with one another, but it seems that way. Firefly's emotions are relayed distinctly through March's art and is often really beautiful. One scene in particular that stood out to me was the flashback where we see Firefly in his apartment, sitting on the couch. March captured the overall dark, depressing tone in this sequence really well and Tomeu Morey's colors compliment March's inks perfectly. I much prefer March's pencils in this issue to his art in Gotham City Sirens. I think his art is more organized and tells a better story in these last two issues of Batman than they had in GCS with the exception of the issue that focused on The Riddler. Maybe I'm just not crazy about the way he draws his women?

The story is written in a way that will leave the reader wondering The Riddler's true motives. A lot of the events that take place imply that The Riddler has not entirely turned a new leaf; something that has often been hinted at in the past. I am still waiting for the moment where we see his true colors. Daniel did a good job making me (as a reader) really get into Dick's brain, and while it is stated that this is the end of the two part story line, it feels really open ended. In other words, I wouldn't be surprised if Daniel elaborates on a lot of what we saw in this issue later on.

The Bad

I am a huge fan of The Riddler which is why I can be a bit overly critical of the way he is written. I envision Edward Nigma to be suave, smooth and eloquent- I don't see him shaking like a leaf. I am still unsure of how I felt about him in this issue. His reaction in the last scene left me curious, and I wondered whether or not his character would have been incapacitated to the point where he would not have been able to get away. Like I mentioned before, this is supposed to be part two of two, but it left me feeling as though it was not yet over. The ending is open-ended and felt abrupt. I guess I will just have to wait until the next issue of Batman to see what happens!

The Verdict- 4/5

Tony Daniel proves that he is capable of writing a fantastic Dick Grayson as Batman in this issue, and that he works better when he isn't both writing and drawing the issue. My only real complaint was that the second part of this issue felt rushed and open-ended.