The dynamic duo of Doug Moench and Kelley Jones reunite and return to the bat-books with Batman: The Unseen #1. Here, we find Doug Moench writing a fun, yet interesting story, while Kelley Jones returns with his unique vision of the dark knight and Gotham City.
Batman: The Unseen is what Batman would have been if H.G. Wells wrote the character. I think Doug Moench does a solid job of weaving some horror elements into the storyline. The basic plot is that Black Mask has risen and he employs a scientist to achieve the goal of invisibility. However, the scientist, Dr. Nigel Glass, decides to take matters into his own hands and run the experiments on himself. With these experiments, the Meat-Man is born. While this is going on, Batman is discovering that criminals no longer fear him and is battling to regain this “ability”. This is where the book really flourishes for me; I think Moench’s narrative of Batman’s thoughts is the best part about this issue. He portrays Bruce Wayne/Batman as a damaged character who is really struggling to find that edge against the criminals of Gotham. I also think Moench is using this plot point to foreshadow something much bigger that will happen in future issues. The issue has a very 1940’s classic horror movie feel to it which I enjoyed. Moench also writes good characterizations of Harvey Bullock and Black Mask.
The art is classic Kelley Jones. Say what you will about Kelley Jones, but I found his art to be quite enjoyable, and the art fits this storyline perfectly. Certain panels really stick out in this book, particularly Jones’ portrayal of Black Mask. The biggest problem with the art is the lack of detail in the character’s face. You sometimes find yourself looking at these sloppy face descriptions, which can be distracting.
My biggest problem with the story is that Meat-Man is a character that I don’t care about. He doesn’t really have any substance as a character. Nigel Glass is a bitter scientist that decides to take matters into his own hands. The character just seems silly to me. The other problem is that there are several stereotypical Batman plot elements in this book. How many times have we read a story where Batman is going through a tough time as the caped crusader? TOO MANY! Also, I was a little disappointed when Black Mask appears. I was worried that this book was going to turn into another “Black Mask tries to take control of Gotham’s underworld” story, but I think that the introduction of Nigel Glass will help counter Black Mask’s plans.
I think this book has an opportunity to be a good miniseries. I feel the first issue was solid, solid story and solid art. The book isn’t great but I think Moench is writing a fun and interesting story, and I’m along for the ride.
Batman: The Unseen #1:
Reviewed by Zfactor