Editor's Note: This was sent in before the release of Batman #700. We were just able to post it.
So, we’re almost there. To Batman #700 I mean. Issue #700 has been touted by DC and other Bat-fan’s as Grant Morrison’s grand return to the Batman comic that comes along with a sweeping story that features Batmen from different generations all starring in one single over sized issue priced at $4.99!!!!! But wait, hold on, this review isn’t about #700 because at the time of this writing it hasn’t come out yet!!!! With all the hype surrounding issue #700 there are the people especially on the internet who complain that #699 was rushed, that Tony Daniel’s story was cut short and not fleshed out and as a one-sided theory, it is true.
This issue begins where the last issue left off, Batman finds Edward Nigma under the influence of the Joker’s laughing gas which is later revealed to be a generic knock off of the real thing, Batman however still needs to search for the killer of issue # 698. While I will not spoil anything completely for you in the two issue story arc I will agree with the facts, being that the story was rushed and cut short. There are questions that are left unanswered and it is incredibly fast-paced even with Dick’s inner monologue, which is one of the things Daniel got perfect, not to mention the ending which just left another huge question about what is going to happen. I just felt that this story could have been more than what was presented in the actual book. While it had a great story , beginning in Batman #698 and concluding with this issue, Daniel had too much to work with and not enough time or pages/issues to create a better story considering the return of Grant Morrison in the landmark 700th issue. If he had had the time maybe we would’ve got a better story. But maybe it’s Daniels fault with the fact that he could have condensed the story and re-worked it with consideration to the issue number and the number of pages he was allowed. Maybe he was just overwhelmed and distracted with other things. No one knows except for him and we can't truly blame anyone at this point. Saying that it was Daniel's fault or DC’s fault or even Grant Morrison’s fault is the elusive one-sided theory.
But overall we can only assume what we are led to believe (until we get all the information) which is the fact that it was just poor planning on both sides. Whether it was in fact the number of issues or some other unseen reason. Anyways, all the negativity aside I can commend the artwork by Guillem March. Even though he has been heavily critiqued in the past, is one of the best artists in the game with his visually stunning style and overall scope, depth, and understanding of the medium pulls you into the world of the long forgotten world of true artistic statement. I can also commend the story up to a certain point. I see the depth that Daniel wanted to take it to with the addition of Edward Nigma to his story and the overall sense of where the story was going, it truly would have been great. The inner monologue with Dick as Batman was truly the highlight of the story because I finally pictured Dick as Batman and was no longer haunted by the image of Robin and Nightwing when I see him as the Batman, his inner monologue was some of the most eloquent writing I have read in a long time. But the story just doesn’t cut it, it just reads way too fast, it was too rushed, and finally there are things that are supposedly happening when truly nothing is going on ? Maybe I am wrong, maybe what we were presented with was what Daniel wrote and he just had a bad run? Like the ending it leaves us in the universe’s waiting room with a bag full of future possibility. We all have our bad days thus we are forgiven. I’m sure with the proper situation this could have been a great swan song for Daniel. And like any person that has had a bad day, I will forgive.
Overall, the presentation is there with Guillem March’s art and Daniel's story but sadly it falls short almost to the point where March’s artwork cannot redeem it. But what I am hoping is that all the questions that weren’t answered and the cliffhanger at the end of Issue #699 with the question/possibility it hold will be revealed in future issues. But I can only hope.
Reviewed by Dane