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TPB REVIEW

BATMAN: TURNING POINTS

Author: Bill Ramey
Sunday, June 10, 2007

SYNOPSIS FROM DC COMICS:

"Collecting the miniseries BATMAN TURNING POINTS #1-5! This story explores the relationship between Batman and Commisioner Gordon, and how it has developed through the years, from Batman's early days through sidekicks and even a broken back."

When I first heard about the upcoming TPB titled BATMAN: TURNING POINTS, I figured that I was going to like it. One of the things I enjoy the most about the world of Batman is the relationship between The Dark Knight and Jim Gordon. If you are like me in that regard, you too may be looking forward to reading this TPB. Why? Because it is a collection of stories depicting the Batman/Gordon relationship at various points in The Batman’s career.

Originally, these stories were issued individually as a 5-part miniseries that featured writers Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, and Chuck Dixon. Artists working on B:TP were Steve Lieber, Joe Giella, Dick Giordano, Bob Smith, Brent Anderson, Paul Pope, and Claude St. Aubin. The cover of this TPB was done by Tim Sale of THE LONG HALLOWEEN fame. A fairly nice set of Bat-talent working on this project.

So let’s take a quick look at each of the 5 stories found in this collection.

Chapter 1, “Uneasy Allies” by Greg Rucka (writer) and Steve Lieber (artist) is very “Year One-sih.” In fact, Lieber’s artwork is awfully reminiscent of David Mazzuccelli’s on that mid-80s Batman classic. The story involves Capt. Gordon and The Batman kind of, sort of partnering up to end a dangerous hostage situation. It ends with Rucka showing us -- and Gordon -- that The Dark Knight and Gotham’s “one good cop” have more in common than crime fighting.

Chapter 2, “…And Then There Were…Three?,” was written by Ed Brubaker with art by Joe Giella. This story drew a “meh” out of me as it’s about -- think about the title, OK? -- the arrival of Robin and his joining the previously two man “team.” It’s straight-up homage to the stories of the 40s and 50s and both Batman’s and Robin’s look shows it. Mr. Freeze -- the story’s villain --has gone all retro as well in his green and purple costume that takes us back to the days of “Mr. Zero.” To top off the retro-esque feel to the story, you’ve got Batman and Robin jumping around giant microscopes, record players, and cash registers as they often did back in the day.

“Casualties of War” is the title to Chapter 3. It’s written by Ed Brubaker with art by Dick Diordano. In a nutshell, this story serves as sort of an epilogue to the events found in both THE KILLING JOKE and A DEATH IN THE FAMILY. While obviously not in the same league as those two classic Batman tales, “Casualties of War” shows the readers how tragedy can make a relationship stronger.

The next to last chapter of TURNING POINTS is titled “The Ultimate Betrayal.” It is written by Chuck Dixon with art provided by Brent Anderson. I’ll make this one short -- if you’ve read the entire “KNIGHTFALL” saga, then there is no need to read this story as it’s basically a rehash and offers nothing new.

The 5th and final chapter of TURNING POINTS is titled “Comrade In Arms,” by Greg Rucka (writer) and Paul Pope (pencils). Personally, it was my favorite “chapter” of them all. Actually, it directly ties into the story found in Chapter 1 (“Uneasy Allies”) and essentially completes it. Think of the first and last chapters/stories as TURNING POINTS‘ bookends. They are by far the two best ones found in this TPB.

So, what’s my recommendation? Well, BATMAN: TURNING POINTS is not one of those “run down to your comic book store now and buy it” books. I give it a ranking of “Above Average” mainly due to the tales found in the first and last chapters. If you are down at your comic book store or shopping at Amazon.com and find it relatively cheap, I’d say pick it up and add it to your collection.

Bill Ramey, AKA "Jett," is the founder and editor in chief of
BATMAN ON FILM, BATMAN IN COMICS, and ON-FILM.NET.

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