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Have you ever heard of the expression ‘People in glass houses, should not throw stones’? It is a pithy comment about the virtues of man, and why he should not judge other people, when he himself is not with out sin. Do you know who could illustrate this expression perfectly? Writer: David Hine; Artist: Guillem March; and Publisher: DC Comics... but only in April 2011. 

Unfortunately, Selina (Catwoman) Kyle and Tim (Red-Robin) Drake have both failed Azraels ‘test of virtue’ in the preceding segments of ‘Judgment on Gotham’. So is there any chance of Dick (Batman) Grayson succeeding where his cohorts have failed? No – no chance at all. You see, once the final confrontation is staged between Batman – Azrael – the Crusader – and Fireball – Azrael unveils the Prodigy, someone from Dick’s carnival days, whom he has sinned with an act of envy. And once the Prodigy tells his tale – and Batman confirms his story – it’s bye-bye Gotham, or is it? As this is the perfect opportunity for Batman to reveal his master plan – Azraels sister-law, Jenny, and his two nephews. Jenny is just ashamed of Azraels actions, and tempts him to figure out the truths behinds his deeds – with the use of his swords. And with a little help from Batman, the truth is revealed – Ra’s Al Ghul. But suddenly, Fireball’s mass goes critical, and Gotham is only saved due to the tempered actions of the Crusader, BOOM! In the aftermath of this event, resolutions are absolved – biblical rants chastised – and Ra’s Al Ghul should be getting ready for an ass kicking of a lifetime.   

And now, the end is near, will Batman face, his final curtain... or will he do it MYYYY WAYYYY! Well, for a start, I do not write Batman, so the point is kind of mute really. Also, to make this final chapter of ‘Judgment on Gotham’ make sense, and if they did do it ‘My Way’, it would involve a Robot Monkey with a tin of asparagus who has a pronounced lisp. Thankfully, they have David Hines and Guillem instead, two men who have worked on the Azrael series previously, and are now wrapping up this Azrael related cross-over event here, in Batman. So, did they do a good job of it? Hmm? Yes – yes they did, but in a rather overtly staged manner. Now please do not take my words the wrong way, as ‘staging’ is something that comic books have done for years – just to set-up scenes, and allow the plot to flow more fruitfully. However, in this issue, all the main players just sit on a roof for a bit, talk, before one of them blows up and the rest goes home. OK, basically, those are the broad strokes of this narrative. But conceptually, this is how this ending play’s out. No gala fight scene or grand unveiling, in fact, the opposite is true. The only fight either Batman or Azrael has is with themselves – and all of the unveiling has been revealed to the reader previously. So why after saying all that, did I start off this review by saying that they did a ‘good job of it’? Well, the creative team – Hine & Guillem – did. Hines dialogue and exposition flows really well, and Guillem’s artistic style does blend in with the biblical theme of this narrative. Shame that the plot in which this all resided in was not more grand and grounded – as this would have made this finale that much more dramatic. Good issue thoe... and a set up for things to come.


BATMAN #709 BATMAN #709 Reviewed by David Lee Andrews on May 20, 2011 Rating: 5
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