Oh, dear! What on Earth has happened to Gotham City? I can remember a time when this dark metropolis housed giant-sized props for Batman to fight under. Now, though, well, what can I say? Tut-tut-tut! Shame on you Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, for getting DC Comics to agree with your 'face lift', Ha! As seen in June, 2014.

To QUOTE Gregory Bateson: 'A major difficulty is that the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx is partly a product of the answers that we already have given to the riddle in its various forms'.

For Batman to save Gotham from the nefarious clutches of 'The Ridder', he tries to delay him with a battle of wits, whilst Jim Gordon and Lucius Fox attempt to disarm his mechanical hold over the city

Meanwhile, in another part of this tale, we learn that a young Bruce Wayne had a bit of a problem with one of his teachers, Mr Charmouth.

Now in all honestly I'm a right sucker for most movies made during the seventies, because the story-lines were generally simpler to follow, plus the action scenes were both earthy and dynamic to behold.

To me, this issue was just such an experience.

From the off we are presented with the basic plot -- Batman goes this way whilst Jim and Lucius goes that way. Then we see how those involved faired -- biff-bang-boom... Rooaarrr! And finally everything is set-up rather nicely for next month's final Gotham City showdown -- Ohhhhhh!

OK. I know I've defined the overall story-line in very broad terms. But that's because I don't want to spoil anything by telling you how much I enjoyed those scenes where Batman managed to bang a giant pussy -- take that however you so wish -- or those scenes where Bat's turned the tables on the Riddler by telling him his own origins.

Also, I must applaud Greg for illustrating some really vibrant and dynamic panels. In one case I actually had to flip to the front cover just to make sure he was doing the drawings, because his stuff felt very fresh on the page. New even. 

The only thing about this tale I wasn't too keen on was how two of the action sequences were paced within the scenes. Initially I'm referring to that panel were Batman took a dip into the pit, plus that segment where the cars began to fall around him. In my eyes these two scenes felt a bit constrained in tone -- brisk even -- and came across less suspenseful than the rest of the adventure.  

In my book I'd say this engaging escapade was about a battle of wits between two opposing adversaries. And from my point of view nothing say's 'battle of wits' more than the one and only 'Rapper's Delight' by the Sugarhill Gang.

Say what?

Something happened to me last week that kind of reminded me of this great comic book adventure. I was just stepping of off a train when I heard an announcement on the intercom that stated my connection had recently arrived a couple of platforms away. So like a mad-man I did a runner and tried my best to catch it A.S.A.P.

Thankfully, I did. And the feeling of satisfaction mixed in with suspense that washed over me when I eventually stepped on-board my connection, is what I also felt about this marvelous tale too. Know what I mean?

At the end of this issue we're presented with a scene where a young Bruce Wayne gets his revenge by vandalizing his teachers home. But how do you think he goes about doing this, eh? Could it be by...

  1. Urinating in his flower-pots.
  2. Sh*ttng in his porch.
  3. Getting a lone beggar drunk and sticking him in his cabbage patch.
  4. Setting fire to his lawn in a rather appropriate fashion.
  5. Spraying the word 'C*nt' on his front-door.
  6. Infesting his house a hoard of giant ravenous bats.
  7. Building a smaller house in front of his house, and then getting a small band of loud midgets to move in.
  8. Raping a sheep.

Ha! Great issue. Nuff said.

BATMAN #31 BATMAN #31 Reviewed by David Andrews on June 17, 2014 Rating: 5
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