BATMAN #711

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[ NO, PLAY NICE

If you were a gangster, what type of gangster would you want to be? A stereotypical 1940’s gangster – with tailor made suite and gatling gun in hand? Or what about an urban street gangsta – draped in gold chains and sporting a large hat? Personally speaking, I would not want to be any of these, instead I would be Writer: Tony Daniel; Artist: Steve Scott; and Publisher: DC Comics – but only for the month of July 2011.

  

THE STORY:
Now what do the following three things have in common? (1) Harvey (Two-Face) Dent climbing out off a grave shouting his wife – Gilda’s – name, only to be smacked at the back of the head, THWAK! (2) The clues that Dick (Batman) Grayson discovers whilst he is snooping around Two-Faces hideout. And (3) An argument that Gilda and Mario Falcone are having over money.

The answer: The Riddler.

Now Two-Face is the first person to realise this, as he confronts the Riddler as soon as he wakes up from the smack to the back of his head. Batman is the second person to realise this – initially, because he spots clues associated to the Riddler at Two-Faces hideout – and subsequently, when he breaks up a fight between Catgirl and Enigma. And as for Gilda and Mario Falcone? Hmmm? Not yet they don’t – as Two-Face and the Riddler have to consolidate on an army first – and then go to war with them.

The answer: To be continued.

THE REVIEW:
To me, this second part of the ‘Pieces’ story arc was not as good as the first. Firstly, because the overall structure of the piece just rambled a bit too much for my liking – secondly, because Catgirl and Enigma was in it (god I hate those two) – and thirdly, certain aspects of Batman’s mythology is starting to be massaged a bit. What I mean by this third comment; is that the conclusion to ‘The Long Halloween’ is starting to evolve within this storyline. OK, on face value this may not necessarily seem like a bad thing to do. But still, I do find that sometimes this ‘retro-con’ palaver is really starting to pisses me off.

When is DC going to realise that if it is not broke, don’t fix it? Fair enough, by now I have come to the realisation that Tony Daniel is trying to stake a name for himself on the Bat-books, by delving into popular continuity. But this only seems to work if the derived pretext melds well with what he is trying to do. Catgirl – the new Riddler – Enigma – no, they do not meld – they distract. Where as Gilda’s and Mario’s introduction does seem to fit – though only because there amalgamation appears to work within the scheme of things. Listen now, I do not want to come down too hard on this title or Tony for that matter – as I am sure that they both have a hard road ahead of them with the ‘reboot’. Still, I would like to see this tenure end on a high – and not a low.

The only thing that I really did like in this issue was Steve Scott’s art. His bold exuberance and dense shading makes this adventure appear more dynamic somehow – as if his pencil work grounds the pretext into a more earthy reality. Shame that his run on this title is going to be a brief one; I just hope – like we all do – that DC knows what it is doing, just like Batman seems to in this issue.

As an adventure goes, this issue wasn’t bad really – it gave a bit more plot, a bit more exposition, and progressed the arc a couple of more steps in the right direction. I just hope that next time Tony can pull something special out of the bag, rather than delving into someone else’s. 

THE RATING: B