Tony Daniel's final issue of Batman is one that isn’t easily classified as good or bad. On the one hand this issue has been far superior than the other issues in his run, but on the other hand it just isn’t up to par nor very well written. I can say that I feel good about this issue but then again I can say that I was almost totally disappointed by it. This issue has me on the edge of those two mediums and I have to say that when it comes down to it Daniel's greatest fault was that he sacrificed his story for action and immediacy which ended up leaving his story feeling very disjointed and quick to meaningless conclusions. But then again Tony Daniel hasn’t been one to give us a meaningful conclusion. And this issue is no exception.
With this issue, Tony Daniel concludes his Two-Face storyline. But unfortunately that’s part of the problem. Like I said, Daniel ends his story very cheaply by resolving issues too quickly (if there was any conclusion) and trying to leave us sitting on the edge of our seats with all of his ploys. I mean it’s perfectly fine if you want to do that it’s just that you have to do it the right way. For some reason at the end of this issue I didn’t feel any anxiety. Two-Face isn‘t going to kill Gilda, and The Riddler is probably beating up his daughter so that he can enact his next plan. Ok, I get it, am I on board to see where this could possibly lead to? Not really. It’s almost like I could care less about what happens to Gilda or Enigma because Daniel doesn’t take the time to make me care. The Gilda and Riddler/Enigma story are done so quickly that if he took it out of this issue it seems like nothing would change. If you don’t give your smaller stories enough time then you separate your audience from them, rendering them meaningless. And in the end that’s exactly what Daniel does. He takes an unoriginal idea (Harvey losing his coin) which isn’t very interesting and jams a Gilda Dent, Riddler/Enigma, and Katrina Falcone story all into one issue which in turn mimics his previous runs where he gets lost in his own mess and confusion and in his desperation and probably exhaustion and a deadline he just haphazardly concludes his story even if it is disjointed. Especially the Kitrina Falcone story which seems like it didn’t even need to be in this issue. It seems like Daniel, instead of trying to flesh out his story a little more, decided it was too much work to do that and decided to draw some kind of lost conclusion for Kitrina instead which was very out of place, random, and unnecessary much like the Gilda Dent story which, come to think of it, seems like Daniel wanted to borrow a little bit of magic from Scott Snyder’s Detective books and bring in a character that was previously established but pushed under the DCU rug. Bottom line is that this story was written horribly because Daniel is so sloppy and lazy storytelling wise that his story seems like it was half done, rushed, and greatly disjointed and careless.
But that’s not to say it was all bad. The good in this issue stems from it’s immediacy. There’s no waiting around, aimlessly twiddling your thumbs, for things to happen. Daniel kind of lulls you in with dialogue and you turn the page and the action is right in your face before you even expected it, only problem is that it was just done horribly. The action scenes were really good as we see Batman infiltrate a building where Gilda and Mario are waiting to meet Two-Face. Batman tries to stop the fighting because he realizes that Two-Face isn’t so lovey-dovey with Gilda anymore. As for the action sequences though, I really like how Daniel plotted each sequence although it was sloppy you get the basic idea of what he’s trying to do, yeah they are kind of cliched especially when Dick arrives just in the nick of time to stop Two-Face but it gets the job done which is kind of a negative and a positive. I also like how Daniel made Batman a part of the story whereas his last two issues seemed like they didn’t even need Batman in them, and the only reason Batman was in the issue was because his name was on the cover.
As for art, Steve Scott does a very good job. Although he kind of falters with Dick as he is recovering (out of bat-suit) his Batman and the way he draws Two-Face and Riddler totally make up for it and even though I said that the action sequences are sloppy you can’t really blame Steve Scott for that. Also, Ryan Winn does an excellent job with the colors, it’s just the right amount of dark and light, his balance is near perfection.
But in the end, the one thing that weighs this issue down is the worst thing you can screw up. The writing. Tony Daniel again fails to present anything worthwhile because he cuts corners and doesn’t give any meaning to his story. If you want your audience to care about your story, you need to care about your story. You can’t cut corners, speed things up or rush things. You need to let your story breathe naturally and let things fall where they may. And that’s this issues biggest flaw, Daniel single-handedly separated his audience from his story. By making it so that the Two-Face/Gilda Dent story feels disjointed and rushed and especially not concluding it, by throwing in a Kitrina Falcone conclusion haphazardly and by jamming a Riddler story which is supposed to leave us on the edge of our seats. I have almost given up on Daniel as a writer. This last arc that Daniel has done has been anything but interesting and exciting. And to see that time is running out for the Batman ongoing series before it is relaunched and to see it end on such a downer is kind of sad.
Reviewed by Dane Haji