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BATMAN
CONFIDENTIAL
#38

Author: Robert Reineke
December 11, 2009
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OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: As the "Blackhawk Down" arc comes to a close, Batman enlists the help of an old friend to take down Gaynor. What he doesn't know is that Gaynor has Lady Blackhawk – and she suddenly doesn't seem to mind! What happened to Zinda to make her turn on her old friends for a former enemy? And can Batman set things right before Gotham City suffers?

“Blackhawk Down” moves to set up its conclusion as Batman convinces the original Blackhawk to step out of retirement and help him and Ted Gaynor brainwashes Lady Blackhawk. It’s relatively standard comics storytelling.

What it lacks though is true drama. Blackhawk is feeling old and wants no part of actively going out and fighting Gaynor. Five pages later he’s all ready to go in a new exoskeleton suit after getting a pep talk from Lee Cheng. It’s a character moment that’s without weight as Blackhawk has been lurking in the background as a big, mysterious reveal instead of as a character we can care about.

The one portion that does work is Gaynor’s test of Lady Blackhawk’s brainwashing using Killer Shark. Killer Shark has been built up as enough of a menace and with a history with Lady Blackhawk so that the scene has some weight and a solid payoff to it.

The latter part of the story features an aerial chase. Unfortunately, it kind of falls flat. Marcos Marz struggles with motion and his storytelling isn’t strong enough to make clear just exactly what is going on. He has an effective sequence between Lady Blackhawk and Killer Shark, so it’s clear he’s much stronger at work in the shadows than he is at the more action oriented work.

Overall it serves its purpose in setting up the finale, but it’s pretty uninspired in getting there. Overall, I think there’s a lack of focus as this is a Blackhawks story, but it’s told from Batman’s point of view and is the weaker for that. The character drama doesn’t involve Batman at all.

GRADE: C-

Robert Reineke is a Civil and Environmental Engineer residing in Wisconsin.
He’s earned a BS and MS degrees from the University of Wisconsin
and has been reading Batman comics since the 1970s.
He’s of the firm belief that there are plenty of Batman comics written
before Frank Miller that are worthy of discussion.

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