BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN #30
Author: Bobby Barrett (Follow @BATBOBBY)
April 18, 2014
SYNOPSIS: The quest for Damian’s remains takes Batman to Paradise Island and into direct conflict with Wonder Woman!
The Dark Knight comes face to face with the Amazon Warriors as "The Hunt For Robin" continues. Ra's al Ghul has found his way to Paradise Island, the remains of Talia and Damian in tow. Convinced of the existence of a centuries-abandoned Lazarus Pit with mystical qualities that wipe away memories, Ra's and his entourage of ninjas and Man-Bats press forth as Batman and Wonder Woman attempt to discover their location. Diana has brought Bruce to her home with hopes of helping him find his dead son, but her decision is unpopular with her peers, as men are despised and unwelcome on the island.
A visit to an ancient oracle points our heroes in the right direction with a stern warning that what they are seeking is shrouded in darkness and best left alone. Of course, Ra's has already found what he's looking for and is preparing the pit for his kin as Batman and Wonder Woman arrive. Bruce Wayne's son is once again within his reach--however, there IS something dark lying beneath this pit. Something ancient, ferocious, and…hungry.
BATMAN AND… has taken many different directions in the year since Robin's demise, but this issue easily stands out--mainly due to the entire story taking place on Paradise Island, definitely a far cry from Gotham. Readers unfamiliar with Wonder Woman's background (especially in The New 52) might be unsure of how to take this surreal setting, but as usual, writer Peter Tomasi plants enough exposition to keep us afloat in unfamiliar waters. If meta-women, monsters and mystics aren't your thing, don't worry – there's still plenty of Batman-ness to be found. The moment where Bruce decides he's had enough of the Amazons' bickering is a particular standout.
Penciler Patrick Gleason keeps it fresh as always, even if the visuals don't strike the disturbing intensity of last month's visit to Ra's al Ghul's secret hellhole. Paradise Island is a beautiful location, particularly when the search for the Lazarus Pit commences, and the lush jungle setting takes on a RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK feel. This, of course, gives an opportunity for colorist John Kalisz to switch up his ever dynamic palette for something we don't get during our excursions in Gotham City. Mick Gray gets some assistance from Gleason on the inks this month, but the pair have a clear understanding of what this art needs to thrive, and the experience is rich and consistent throughout.
One of the more different chapters of this series, BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN #30 ultimately delivers. Though not quite with the punch that this arc kicked off with, a solid entry nonetheless. These far-off settings facing off against Ra's and the League of Assassins definitely provide a throwback to the classic Ra's al Ghul stories of the 1970s where Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams painted a worldly Batman who wasn't simply concerned with matters in his home city, but crime on a global scale. It's that spirit of adventure that drives this book--gritty and serious, yet not afraid to embrace its "comic book-ness" with outlandish characters and situations.
Before I sign off, I just want to point out that the creative team on this book has made it to 30 issues with no signs of stopping. The only other New 52 book I can think of to maintain a consistent writer and art team from the 2011 relaunch up to and past issue #30 would be Snyder and Capullo's BATMAN. Undeniably an achievement to be celebrated, here's hoping Tomasi, Gleason, Gray, and Kalisz make it another 30! - Bobby Barrett