The final chapter of “The Eye of the Beholder” begins with a very quick look at how Batman came to be bound and left to drown alongside fellow prisoners Luki Lo, and Lucius and Tamara Fox. Batman has little trouble escaping and freeing the others and he goes on to handle the bad guys waiting for him at the surface with just as much ease. Meanwhile, Sensei and his men are in the abandoned archives library of Gotham to retrieve the Mask of the Beholder, which is hidden in the archives. Peacock arrives to stop him, but to no avail, as upon putting on the mask, Sensei gains immense power. While wearing the mask, he is able to suck the life out of others and use some sort of mystical force that is strong enough to overwhelm even Batman (Wait, what? Where’d he come from?).
Batman arrives out of nowhere and warns Sensei that the power is too strong, but Sensei believes himself to be worthy to wield the power and disregards the warning. Suddenly, the mask comes off and Luki grabs it and I-Ching declares him the rightful owner. Enraged, Sensei attacks Luki and strikes the mask, breaking it into pieces. Knowing that he has lost this battle, Sensei saves face by picking up the pieces of the mask and escaping. In the aftermath, Peacock and Luki entrust Batman with the piece of the mask that Sensei was not able to salvage, warning him that there is no doubt he will one day return to have it for himself. As their plane is leaving Gotham, the story takes us to an abandoned diner on the outskirts of Gotham where Riddler and Enigma are making a little “business transaction” with a mysterious woman. The issue closes out with the Riddler being given one more “teensy little job” by the unknown woman.
Now first off, the art was amazing. I’m not one who cares so much about art when I read comics, but I feel I should give credit where credit is due. Daniel’s drawings were great, and the dark tones added to the story tremendously. I don’t think enough recognition is given to colorists, but Ian Hannin did an excellent job here. Like I said, art is not the most important thing to me, but there are times when it really adds something extra.
On the other side of things, the story was not as great. I wouldn’t say it was bad, but I am hesitant to give too much praise. There was never really a point in the whole issue that I felt Batman was in serious danger. In fact, I don’t think Dick really did anything other than his “great escape” at the beginning of the book. By the time he arrives at the archives, Sensei had already lost control of the powers of the mask and was no longer a threat. Actually nobody really did anything to improve the situation; Sensei’s worst enemy was himself. I mean, he was the one who broke the mask (and I love the irony). It was only by luck that the good guys came out on top here, though it was pretty much a draw in my eyes.
The ending with Riddler is what really got my attention here. Although I was not too fond of the writing in this issue, Daniel is becoming one of my favorite writers. This could be due to his apparent obsession with The Long Halloween/Dark Victory and the Riddler, both of which I myself am very partial to (That seems too passive, I’ll just say obsessed). The identity of the mysterious woman is technically unknown right now, but I think Daniel is making an obvious hint with Two-Face’s scarred coin.
On the whole, this was just an average story with great art. I felt that the ending was rushed, and although the idea was not bad at all, it was poorly executed. There is much to look forward to in the coming arc, as I’m curious to see what role the Riddler and this “mysterious woman” (Hey, a thesaurus can only help you so much!) will play in the near future.
Reviewed by RiddleMeThis