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Review: Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Chapter #23

batmangaThis is it folks! This week in the Batmanga we wrap up the Clayface story arc. Unfortunately this may well be the weakest episode in our current story. I will be the first to say that Kuwata does an amazing job illustrating and telling a good Batman story. However, Jiro Kuwata does not feel at home when a story is too dialogue centric. While attempting to capture the essence of the 66’ Batman television show, Kuwata falls short and sells his story on cheap dialogue and minimal action.


Like all previous issues of the Batmanga, this week’s entry picks up directly following the events in the last issue. Still on the hunt for Clayface, Batman begins to suspect that Colt may be behind the fiendish Clayface’s schemes. The dialogue at this point is very shallow and weak. With a three-issue preface, we would expect the conversation between the Dark Knight and his opponent to be thought driven and precise. As if in response to this boring conversation, Jim Gordon takes over the interrogation of Colt while Batman flees to prepare a device capable of stopping Clayface.


Colt fleeing the presence of Gordon confirms Batman’s suspicion that Colt may in fact be Clayface. Being the climatic end to this tale, these remaining panels are lacking in substance and any form of depth. It is unfortunate that this portion of the Batmanga epic had to end in such a lackluster manner. I will leave it to the reader to explore the last few panels for themselves, however, as a Bat-fan I was rather disappointed.


With 75 years of material to reference, it is easy to say that this particular Batman story is lacking in many ways. However, I implore that not every issue of Batman will be a winner to all readers. Although I find this issue to be very drab and uneventful, this particular entry may represent the quintessential Batman for a wide audience. It is up to you reader to decide if this is the Batman for you.


Experiences in the graphic arts will always be relative to the audience taking them in. Let us use this opportunity to appreciate the various manners in which we can all enjoy art. Far too often we rely upon the sentiments of others to form our opinions on pop culture. It would behoove all of us to stand back from the influences of our surroundings and identify the intrinsic characteristics that make us all individuals. In other words, remember what made us Bat-fans in the first place. We all see the Bat in a different manner. Every interpretation different than the rest. Just remember reader that even in his worst, Batman is still that hero that we all need, even if his current story does not meet your standards.


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