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BATMAN #694
Author: Jett
December 23, 2009

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OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: While Black Mask and his Ministry of Death struggle to maintain control of Gotham City, The Dark Knight sets his sights on Kittyhawk Ė a young thief pivotal to the outcome of Black Mask's gang war. But will a powerful adversary thought long dead spoil all of Batman's plans? Guest-starring Oracle and the Penguin!

OK, I promiseÖIím done with the comparisons between Tony Danielís BATTLE FOR THE COWL and his current run on BATMAN.

Well, let me say it one more time and that will be it. Iím certainly enjoying TDís run on the flagship Batman monthly as opposed to BFTC (which I hated).

ďLife After DeathĒ continues with the third installment of this story arc and we find ourselves at the halfway mark. Someone is trying to start a huge mob war in Gotham and it appears as if Oswald ďThe PenguinĒ Cobblepot is getting the brunt of the attacks. Meanwhile, The Dick-Batman is doing his best to stop this thing before it gets totally out of control.

Many of the plot threads that Daniel has been putting together over the last couple of issues show up here and as a result, the pace of the story is rather exhausting and confusing. In fact, I had to re-read this issue a couple of times as well as go back and look at #s 692 and 693 to help figure out exactly what the hell was going on. While the story seems to be a bit perplexing right now, it looks as if these different storylines are gradually starting to gel. Like I said, weíre at the halfway point, so I suspect things will really start to come together from this point on.

As far the artwork, I think itís fantastic. Iíve been of fan of Danielís Batman stuff since he was providing the art during Grant Morrisonís run on the title. Whatís cool to me is that there is a subtle, yet noticeable, difference in his Dick-Batman as opposed to the original. Yes, were talking about drawing ďBatmanĒ here, but you can tell that this isnít Bruce Wayne in the suit despite the fact that heís dressed up as The Dark Knight.

Iíll be the first to admit that BATMAN isnít currently setting the comic book world on fire. I also donít think when Danielís run is done, it will eventually become a classic TPB/GN. But itís certainly doesnít suck and Iím enjoying both the mob element and the fact TDís bringing in some cool (and sometimes classic) Batman villains into his tale. Honestly, BATMAN currently reads a lot like an old 1970s DETECTIVE COMICS story -- which is perfectly fine by me.

Oh yeah, Iím also wondering what Daniel is going to do with the fake Bruce Wayne. Iíd like to see the real one return (not in pirate gear) and pound his ass into the ground. But thatís just me.

All in all, a pretty good story is at hand here despite the fact things seem to be a little convoluted at the moment. The only real negative at this point for me is that Iím not all that interested in this Dick-Helena-Barbara ďlove trinangleĒ -- Iím choosing to ignore that subplot as much as possible.

Regardless, Iím definitely looking forward to seeing where this thing goes and how it ends.

"Jett" is the founder of BATMAN ON FILM.

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