I will be the first to tell you that reviewing this book has been difficult at every turn. Jiro Kuwata forces his readers to experience the Dark Knight on a multitude of different levels. Chapter to chapter we see Batman placed in an array of various situations. The problem Kuwata consistently faces is writing Batman into situations in which he can thrive. His writing is like a game of Ping-Pong in which the player never knows where the ball will land. My last three reviews indicate that I am unsure of Kuwata’s ability to tell a good Batman story. However, this week’s entry into the Batmanga is evidence that Jiro Kuwata has the ability to be one of the best storytellers to ever helm the mythos of the bat. Art and storytelling combine this week to present a story that is worthy of praise from Batman fans around the globe.
“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.” This quote from Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein beautifully sums up the whole of this week’s entry into the Batmanga. In the pursuit of The Red Lizard Gang, Batman and Robin are drawn into a trap that will surely result in their demise. However, it is Alfred that comes to the rescue and stands in the place of the dynamic duo to ensure their safety. The devotion that Alfred expresses in these panels conveys to the reader his commitment to the Dynamic Duo. More than just a butler, he is truly the third member of the crime fighting entourage.
Seeing Alfred die is an event that no Batfan ever wishes to experience. Although his death is portrayed in a mere couple of panels, his fate resonates strongly with the reader. However, as we continue on through the book we quickly learn that things are not as clear as they might appear.
I personally love the homage that is paid to Frankenstein in this chapter. Seeing Alfred resurrected by a scientist with a knack for the unconventional was thoroughly enjoyable. For the first time since I began reviewing this series, the author is bringing the conflict directly to Batman’s front door.
I am excited to see where Kuwata takes this current story arc over the next three chapters. He has proven himself to be an exceptional storyteller and artist; however, he is not without his faults. I just hope that he does not fall into a pit of mediocrity like he has done so many times before.