BATMAN #27 & #28

What would you call a funny chef who replaces his second C with a B? Why you'd call him a 'comic book', get it? If not, then I'd advise you to check out the following story created by Tom King, Clay Mann, Mikel Janin, and published by DC Comics in August, 2017.

TO QUOTE My Crazy Uncle George: 'You can only catch flying fish with a kite'. 

If you're familiar with the expression about someone, or something, being stuck between a rock and a hard place, then I'm sure you'd be able to get the basic gist of the following two episodes of Batman.

Last month it was established that one year after the events of Zero Year the Joker and the Riddler were at war with each other and that Batman wanted to stop them, once and for all. So in order for him to do this, he met up with Charlie Brown, a lowly barfly, so through him he'd be able to arrange for a meeting with the Crown Prince of Crime.

Surprisingly enough, his plan worked, as Charlie got Mister J's contact details from a mutual acquaintance, namely, Floyd Lawton, also known as the marksman, Deadshot, who he previously met when Floyd needed Charlie's skills in the aerodynamics division, same can be said for the Joker. 

Problem was, as soon as he got these details and made the appropriate arrangements, suddenly, from out of the blue, Charlie got abducted by Clayface, who quickly escorted him to the Riddler's hideout. Once there, the Riddler coerced Charlie to expose these arrangements or else he was going to kick his f@cking head in, which, yes, you guessed it, he did, and eventually this led to everyone involved getting into one hell of a gigantic battle. 

But don't worry, the story doesn't end there. More's the pity, because after this skirmish took place, the Joker escaped, the Riddler escaped, and this left Charlie and Batman worrying over the safety of Charlie's son.

You see, while this was going on, Charlie did his best to spend some quality time with his young lad, also known as Charlie, doing so by flying a kite with him in the park. But alas, this simple act of parental bonding inadvertently caused his son to die of poisoning. Stranger still, Charlie then took it upon himself to avenge his son's death by teaming up with the Joker and transforming himself into... ta-dah... Kite-Man.

So there you have it, folks; issue 27 of Batman in a nutshell, otherwise known as the origin of Kite-Man: One of the Dark Knight's most silliest looking foes. Although, if I wanted to be more pedantic about it, I suppose I could say that he was originally one of Wonder Woman's foes. But hey, this is post Rebirth continuity, so I suppose anything goes, more or less, which funnily enough brings me quite nicely onto issue 28

Now if truth be told, this issue of Batman was a pretty naff issue to read. The story is a continuation from issue 26 (the episode before last), and tells the tale of… of… of... uhhh? Well, I'm not quite sure actually. I suppose on some level it's about Jim Gordon trying to organize a stalemate between our two warring villains. Whereas, on another level, it's about Batman trying to stop a battle between Deadshot and Deathstroke, sniper versus sniper, a battle in which quite a few people die, Batman gets pissed off, and yeah, that's about it really. 

On the whole I felt that this particular story was fairly indefinable because of its lack of structure, cohesion, and grace. Case in point, at the start of the book, we are presented with a scene where a semi-naked Jim Gordon is forced to approach the Riddler and the Joker in regards to a possible stalemate between the two of them. Yet while he's doing this, I couldn't help but notice how their respective gang members, such as Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, etc, were standing around, like a heard of patient sheep, doing nothing apart from what they were told.

I mean, does that seem like natural behavior for a group of super-villains? It doesn't to me. Personally this felt very forced, staged, and completely out of character. Are we supposed to believe that Batman's rogue's gallery have suddenly been stripped of their personalities? Also, how come some of them have a lot more experience than the Caped Crusader? When did Deathstroke start obeying other people's orders so easily? Plus, how did Deadshot increase his skill level so he could go toe-to-toe with Slade? None of this makes any sense to me, not one little bit, and that kind of gives the overall episode a flat, almost redundant quality, appearing like a stop-gap between part one of this story-line and whatever else is going to happen next.

But fear not, issue 28 does have at least one redeeming feature, that being the great artwork provided by my old mate, Mikel Janin. From start to finish he illustrated the hell out of this book (as per usual), plus I particularly liked his lavish double page spreads, bold montage sequences, and the amount of detail he put into each of his characters was just amazing.

I must also applaud Clay Mann for his work on issue 27. Primarily I appreciated the way he tried to keep in sync with what Mikel has produced so far, as this subtle nuance made everything gel more succinctly within the confines of the overall story-line. In addition to this, his pacing for each scene was just exquisite, keeping in mind that I wasn't too keen on Tom King's fractured approach in telling Kite-Man's origin story.

Not that this was a major problem, of course, but tonally I felt that this style of broken narrative did hinder its initial intent. Seriously, was this tale supposed to be a comedy or a tragedy? And if it was a comedy, how can you have a comedy when it features the death of a young boy? Know what I mean?

Apart from that, though, all in all these two issues were a fairly fine read. The artwork was amazing even though the stories were let down by their lack of direction. 

In honor of Kite-Man, I would now like to musically match up these two issues with the Mary Poppins classic, 'Let's Go Fly a Kite'.

Obviously this comparison is a pretty blatant one, but hey, it isn't as blatant as…
...me comparing them with Charlie Brown? You know, he's that character from the comic books and the popular cartoon! Plus he also shares the same name as the main chap that features in issue 27.

Halfway through issue 28, Batman observes Catwoman doing something to Kite-Man, presumably to link this story to the previous one. So, for the sake of an easterly breeze, let's see if you can guess what she does to him out of the following eight options? Could it be…

  • Punch him in the face.
  • Kick him in the nuts.
  • Throw him out the window.
  • Slap him on the arse.
  • Elbow him in the stomach.
  • Head-butt him on the head.
  • Claw him on the chest.
  • Scrub him with a toothbrush.
Nuff said.

BATMAN #27 & #28 BATMAN #27 & #28 Reviewed by David Andrews on August 15, 2017 Rating: 5

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