What if Batman were brainwashed by a member of his rogues' gallery? This is the very scenario played out in the pages of Batman #696. Artist and author, Tony Daniel, continues to spin his tale of a hero's quest to reclaim his city. Continuing the story line from the pages of Battle for the Cowl, the temporary absence of a Batman has brought criminal rivalries to a head in Gotham. Issue #696 sees Dick Grayson's Batman placed squarely in the middle of the conflict against his will! However, will this worst case scenario might be what Grayson needs to crack the case?
I really enjoyed the story-telling in #696. As readers, we are immediately made aware of a battered Batman. While he mentally and physically recovers from mind-altering toxins, we are taken on a journey retracing events of the past few hours. These events are being revealed to the reader, while at the same time being reclaimed from the fog of Grayson's mind. I found myself drawn into the story and eager to discover what will come next.
I also continue to like Tony Daniels' artwork. In particular, I enjoy the attention to detail of characters' faces and expressions. Daniels captures the glassy, far-away eyes of a beaten Batman, the furled brow of Barbara Gordon agonizing over incoming news of chaos, and the sadistically, evil grin of a gloating Penguin. Good story, great art, excellent issue.