This week is kind of a breather for Bat-Fans. As Dustin let us know in his new weekly previews http://thebatmanuniverse.net/editorials/2009/08/05/new-comics-out-today/, the continuity titles are on hiatus until next Wednesday. I figured this would be a good time to spend my comic dollars on the Bruce Wayne stories still being published and maybe even God forbid buy a book from the “other” company for a change. Perhaps I am too wrapped up in the Batman Reborn arc though, because except for Wednesday Comics I was sadly left unmoved by all my purchases. The most disappointing for me was Batman Confidential #32. Much like Apple from TBU, I have been a big proponent of this series. I’ve found the reimagining of past events to be refreshing and fun. Unfortunately, both the writing and art of what appears to be a new origin of the KGBeast have left me cold.
Now one browse of the book and you might wonder what my problem is; the pages look pretty good, and the story has both intrigue and action. But on closer inspection, at least to me, Andy Clarke’s art looks like he’s been reading Quitely and Nguyen and trying to fuse them together. Look at the bottom right panel of the first page. Tell me that doesn’t look like Frank Quitely drew it? Ok now look at the page where the Russian cops are talking with Bruce in his hotel room. Is it just me, or does that not resemble Dustin Nguyen’s art work but less angular? In all fairness to the artist, his previous work in Detective and Joker’s Asylum: Two Face did have a similar look. Maybe if I read this in a different time period I would have been more impressed with the art. What do you guys think?
Peter Milligan is a very well respected writer who’s been around for more than a quarter of a century, most notably to us on his run in Batman and Detective in the early nineties and more recently as part of the Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul storyline. He’s even delved into the Russian/Soviet world with The Programme for Wildstorm comics. Again though, I felt like I had read this before. The Batman who is surprised at how different Moscow is to Gotham, reminded me of the Batman Barcelona book that came out recently. Even the way the Beast is treated, seemed too much like a Bane/Killer Croc combination.
If I try hard I can see where this could turn interesting over next three issues. Even though it seemed a cop out to have the Beast so easily scared off by the stranger’s army (or was that just a hologram?), I am intrigued to see what Milligan does with this new character hiding in the underground. My guess is that he will be a sort of Russian Bruce Wayne rebel type fighting against the Tsar, but hopefully I will be surprised by some twists that aren’t so predictable.
If you haven’t been reading any of the other Bat-titles, you might like this. For the rest of us I would take Dustin’s advice and just read it at your local comic shop.
Batman Confidential #32:
Reviewed by tiggerbrown