Yesterday, I enjoyed one of the most fun and engaging Batman comics Iíve ever read -- and it wasnít BATMAN AND ROBIN
#16 (which was admittedly a ton of fun and fiercely imaginative, despite the implication its ending has for those of us who just arenít quite on the Morrison bandwagon with no relief in sight).
Iím talking about BATMAN/CATWOMAN: FOLLOW THE MONEY, a $5 one-shot that, at a whopping 44 pages of story, is worth at least twenty bucks to anyone looking for a good, old-fashioned Batman yarn with Bruce Wayne under the cowl.
Written and drawn by 60-year-old comics legend Howard Chaykin, FOLLOW THE MONEY pits Bruce and Selina against two problems -- the annoying, flamboyant villain The Cavalier, whom they both separately address by his real first name of ďMortĒ in a hilarious bit of demoralizing, and an embezzling plot by three Wayne Enterprises employees thatís resulted in a very public news story about the Wayne Enterprises Pension Fund. Are these two annoyances somehow related?
Bruce recruits Selina to help him clean up the money trail in case the federal investigation reveals a little too much about where all of Wayneís money is really going. And itís a classic play on the old moral dilemma, with Selina having the time of her life egging Bruce on about the fact that heís asking her to do something wrong, regardless of his insistence that the outcome will ultimately be right. Their interactions are very playful, natural, and outrageously sexy and intimate, all without ever even touching each other (in the panels we see, at least -- they spend a lot of time in each otherís company dressed to the nines in cozy quarters late at night).
Chaykinís dialogue is tons of fun, and the pacing is breezy. His art is an acquired taste -- everythingís exaggerated, particularly faces sometimes, but it totally fits the nature of the narrative. This is big, brawny fun, and Chaykin is just the man for that kind of job.
This one-shot is a huge value for only $5, and it fills a need so many of us have been missing from our Batman comics. Namely, Batman being Batman ... and loving it. The sparks he shares with Selina are just icing on the cake. - John Bierly