Are The 80 Pagers Back? Nice Series of Shorts!
Not since the Silver Age have I seen an 80 page giant, especially that which has my favorite superhero Batman, though interestingly he does not have a lot to do in this issue. Many supporting characters get their shot at the spotlight, even one I haven't heard of.
All the stories deal with handling a blizzard in Gotham, as a running theme. The city is shut down. Now what?
Fire & Ice, writer Kevin Grevioux, inker nelson Asencio. Batman (not Wayne, long story for those not in the know) and Robin (Damien) are trying to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys in this short story. It seems a man and his son are scavenging for food since the dad is out of work. But he goes too far and starts breaking & entering a jewelry store. Batman cautions Robin to avoid the "killing blow" in taking him down. Son looks anxious. Hell breaks loose! Good story, fast-paced, plus a free moral lesson.
Alfred Pennyworth in Pure as the Driven Snow, Writer Mike Raicht and artist Clayton Henry. We start out with prostitutes freezing their you-know-what's off during an ice storm in Gotham. One girl gets picked up in a limo. It's Alfred! Seems he's taken a liking to a blonde girl and wants to help her out. No, it's a bit more innocent than it seems. This is more an "aw, shucks" story that has little action but a lot of schmaltz. Fair tale.
The Hero of Orphan Alley, writer Mike Raicht and artist Clayton Henry. This story was a bit of a downer and the ending didn't really complete, didn't make a lot of sense. Three boys in a slum decide to dress up and play hero. They have no weapons except a stun gun and the will to fight. One of the guys doesn't want to do this but goes along anyway. They get lucky and bust up an armed robbery. Getting cocky, they "patrol" and find an overturned bus. Turns out Killer Croc is hungry and wants to munch on some school children. The guys figure they're over their heads. The ending is anti-climatic and is a bit depressing, as well as leaving a lot of unanswered questions.
OK, the $5.99 cover price starts becoming worth it with the next stories.
I'm that familiar with The Veil, who appears in "Reveiled". This hero can feel what Gotham tells her in a psychic connection. She got this power from when Gotham had their earthquake from that series ten years ago. Writer Peter Calloway, Pencils Marcus To and Inker Saleem Crawford. Veil, aka Millicent Mayne, breaks up a possible robbery, by telling the robber about what he promised his mother. "How did you know about my mother?" he asks, as he runs away. The victim comes with her into the old opera house and grills her with some personal questions as she begins to doubt her mission and what her goal is as a hero or as "an observer" (like Marvel's Watcher). Good but late minute action, a rescue and a realization about life. Gosh!
Catwoman in No Two Alike had a realistic art, almost photographic, like an Alex Ross painting. Very pretty. Writer is Ivory Madison with artists Kat Rocha and Josh Finney. The Cat spots the "snow woman" whom she has some history with apparently. The story tries to bring the new reader up to speed but could have done a better job with some flashbacks. Cat meets an old couple. The woman is dying and the Cat helps bring her to the hospital (rather than rob the Snow Woman). Selena Kyle kicks some butt in the hospital when someone pulls a gun, and she makes a fascinating discovery about the couple that's quite unusual. Grief, death of a loved one and revenge are the issues at hand. Not badly done.
Poison Ivy in The Wilt had some Twilight Zone type ending to it for our favorite green girl. Writer Simon Spurrier and artist Chris Samnee. I didn't realize how bloodthirsty she is in this story. It's short and to the point. Not much of a page-turner.
I liked Kevin Shinick's story with Commissioner Gordon in What Falls Below, art and colors by Rafa Garres. Mr. Freeze escapes from a police van, but leaves his freeze gun and suit in the van! Well it is pretty damn cold in Gotham and Mr. Freeze likes these temps. He wants to make a deal with Gordon to let him walk Gotham free as a normal man just for a few hours. We are not surprised at the results. Fine story, some action and knocking around.
Last story is by artist Stephanie Buscema with writer Steve Niles called Snow Patrol. The art is like something right out of the Cartoon Network which is not a bad thing. Will Steph beat her grandpa John in doing some comics work? Let's hope so. Batman is up on a roof, gloating that he's captured some bad guys and knows there's another one around here somewhere. Bam, Pow! Only one page of story but it was cute.
Not a bad comic book for what it's got. Some will attract the geek, some the guys looking for some hardboiled crime stories, but don't expect any detective or mystery stuff. This book talks of mostly the secondary characters and what they're doing to make Gotham survive the night of a very bad ice storm. Worth the $5.99 I say.
Love the Andy Kubert and Alex Sinclair cover!