Batman, The Widening Gyre marks Kevin Smith’s return to a Bat-books since Batman: Cacophony. Let’s just say it isn’t a triumphant one either. And Walter Flanagan continues his struggles in drawing the Dark Knight.
Unfortunately for Bat fans, Smith and Flanagan haven’t improved. The only thing that should have people buying this book, is the simple fact that Bruce Wayne is Batman in this story. Other than that I would not be reading this, and here’s why:
The story starts off with a flashback, Batman and Robin taking care of the silly villain Baron Blitzkrieg. During these panels, we see campy dialogue and poor visuals from Flanagan. (Someone PLEASE teach him how to draw Batman!) We then cut to the present day where Batman and Nightwing are taking on some small time crook in Germany. Blitzkrieg reappears and is handled easily. My BIG problem with the beginning of this book is that Dick Grayson is written extremely campy and is once again the happy go lucky character. Batman also seems to lack confidence throughout the book which he shouldn't be by this point in time.
Batman returns to Gotham and pays a visit to Arkham Asylum to find it has been taken captive by Poison Ivy. Here, Batman has brief encounters with villains such as the Mad Hatter, Two-Face, and the Joker. I found Smith’s interpretation of the Joker to be very immature and to have a very teenage boy feel to it. I also felt that Poison Ivy was written quite poorly as well.
Some positives throughout the book were that while Flanagan still has his’ struggles, I thought his pencils were much better than they were in Cacophony. I also feel that Kevin Smith writes Etrigan the Demon very well. Etrigan speaks in a rhythmic tone that works very well for the character.
While I did not enjoy this issue, I feel that Kevin Smith is just trying to write a fun story. Unfortunately for Smith, he is going to have to write a really fun story because Flanagan’s art is not going to pick him up. Let’s stay optimistic, I think the story will get better.
Batman: The Widening Gyre #1:
Reviewed by Zfactor