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BATMAN #690
Author: Jett
September 8, 2009

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OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: "The Penguin ups the ante in his bid to become Gotham's top crook and enlists a few of Arkham's finest to keep Batman busy. Meanwhile a mysterious presence enters the scene to aid the Penguin – or is there another motive at play? And Two-Face takes a massive leap forward in uncovering one of Batman's greatest secrets."

So, is BATMAN now the stepchild of the Bat-Monthlies?

Mrant Gorrison’s BATMAN & ROBIN is getting most of the run since this “Batman Reborn” era started.

And it should, as it’s been awesome on both the writing and artistic fronts.

(So no F.J., I am not -- nor have I been -- “hating” on BATMAN AND ROBIN!)

You’ve got STREETS OF GOTHAM and GOTHAM CITY SIRENS which have damn good -- mostly due to the writing of the great Paul Dini.

Then there’s RED ROBIN, which started strong, but now seems to be moving into the “Meh” category. It’s the only title that may be heading towards “suck” territory.

That said, why has BATMAN -- which arguably is the Batman signature title-- been getting a raw deal?

Well, because it isn’t actually – it’s simply being overlooked.


The Dick-Bat from BATMAN #690
(Am I the only one getting a Carmine Infantino vibe here?)

With all the hoopla surrounding the new titles – especially Mrant’s BATMAN AND ROBIN -- BATMAN is getting ignored. And that’s a shame because this title’s “first” story arc – “Long Shadows” – has been particularly good. Writer Judd Winick and artist Mark Bagley have both delivered some top notch stuff since their run together began back in issue #688. What’s maddening to me as a fan of this title is that both are leaving BATMAN once the current storyline concludes in #691. But that’s a discussion for another day. On with the review of BATMAN #690…

If you’ve been reading, you know that there’s a couple of storylines going on here. In one, The Penguin is taking his best shot to become Gotham’s top mob boss. In the other, Two Face is obsessed with the new Batman.

In #690, The Penguin’s quest comes to an end. Is he successful? Well, you got to read to find out. But I will say you’re going to like the way it was handled – well done Winick.

As far as Two Face and his obsession, well, it certainly comes to a head in this issue. The conclusion will take place – in the Batcave mind you – in issue #691. So yeah, #690 ends in a cliffhanger.

My only misgivings with this issue is that large portion of it is taken up by a three-way fight between the Dick-Batman and his inner monologue, this Lyle Blanco character, and Clayface that serves no real purpose in my opinion. I also didn’t particularly like Two Face’s efforts to infiltrate the Batcave by hiring teleporters.

Teleporters? Really? Come on now!

I figure Winick could have come up with something a little less fantastical, and frankly lazy, to get Harvey Dent into Batman’s headquarters. Anyway…

I’ve enjoyed this first chapter of “Batman Reborn” in BATMAN and I’m looking forward to the Dick-Bat’s battle with Two Face in the conclusion of “Long Shadows.” Where this title goes after that – with Tony Daniel coming aboard as both artist and writer – nobody knows.

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"Jett" is the founder of BATMAN ON FILM.

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