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There are a lot of similarities between Batman and Jesus you know. Both of they’re lives are chronicled on the printed page – they are both heroes – they both allied themselves with people who will one day carry on their work – and also, they both use the same shampoo. True story. It was told to me by Writer: David Hine; Artist; Guillem March; and Publisher DC Comics, in April 2011.

Dick (Batman) Grayson is perturbed. Since his last encounter with Azrael, Dick has a bat shaped wound staining his chest, and untrue memories plaguing his mind. But before he is able to research this matter any more, Dick hears on the news that the telekinetic terrorist – the Crusader – is tearing up Gotham, leaving a path of destruction in his wake. Now it seems that Batman / Dick was not the only one to hear this news, because as soon as he arrives at the scene, his colleges – Tim (Red Robin) Drake, and Selina (Catwoman) Kyle – are here also, helping out in any way they can. Suddenly, during this troublesome endeavour, Azrael shows up, provoking the Crusader to kneel down by his feet, and profess his adulation for him. And not only that, but this praise provokes Azrael to tell the three heroes that they will be judged – in search for his quest of righteousness. However, before the heroes can act upon this declaration, Azrael and the Crusader quickly leave the devastation. Meanwhile, somewhere near Gotham, Ras Al Ghul is experimenting on Fireball – the living bomb.

Do you know what I honestly thought to myself, before reading this initial chapter of ‘Judgment on Gotham’? I though that this was going to be one of those forced cross-over events, which seem contrived in plot, stale in the execution, and overall a stop-gap between whatever came before this, and whatever will come after. And do you know what? I was wrong. The creative team behind the recently cancelled Azrael ongoing series – Hine and March – have taken an uncompleted plot threat, and have now woven it into the Bat-Universe. Granted, on conceptual level this pretext may appear to be somewhat contrived, but the way in which both Mr Hine and Mr March have managed to instil a bit of character into this tale – especially that of Dick (Batman) Grayson – that suppleness can easily be overlooked. Honestly, in my own humble opinion, Hine’s writes Dick so well, that I prefer him writing this Batman series, rather than the normal writer (sorry Tony). For me, he seems to have clicked straight into Dick’s jovial essence, as Dick is a performer at heart, who likes to play hero by night. OK, I am not saying that Tony is not good on this book, because on some level he is – especially the art – thoe his characterisation of Dick, unlike Hine’s, seems more forced and less relaxed. And I suppose that is a good word to define this first chapter – relaxed. The pretext is relayed in a rather simple manner, thus allowing the next parts of this cross-over event, to either shine with divinity, or wallow to the mire. How will it turn out? God knows.

BATMAN #708 BATMAN #708 Reviewed by David Lee Andrews on April 21, 2011 Rating: 5
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