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BATMAN
CONFIDENTIAL
#39

Author: Robert Reineke
December 20, 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” reaches its conclusion this issue. Is Lady Blackhawk freed from her brainwashing? Will Gotham City be saved? Are the villainous Ted Gaynor and his flying armada defeated? Are there many explosions and fights along the way? I think you probably can guess the answer to these questions without reading the issue.

What is a question is whether Blackhawk is reunited with Lady Blackhawk or whether he goes out in a blaze of glory. That’s the central dilemma of this issue and where any true drama is found.

You’ll notice that in describing the basic plot of the issue above, that Batman is conspicuous by his absence in the summary. That’s because, title of the book notwithstanding, this is a Blackhawk story not a Batman story. It’s very easy to suspect that this was a proposed Blackhawk mini-series that was reworked into a Batman team-up when sales projections weren’t good. Unfortunately, the inclusion of Batman shifts the focus away from the main characters, Lady Blackhawk and Blackhawk, and leaves us distant from them. There have been successful stories with Batman as a supporting character, but he’s been vital to the story in other ways. Here, he merely moves the plot along and pulls the focus away. From a pure story point of view, it probably would have worked better without Batman.

The art of this issue really falls flat. Marcos Marz doesn’t excel at depicting motion and his characters aren’t distinct and expressive facially. Combine those two weaknesses with an issue where action and emotional reactions are the center and we have an artist that can’t make the story really work.

“Blackhawk Down” wasn’t a terrible story, but it was an ordinary story burdened by Batman being more a peripheral character to the story than the main character and an artist that wasn’t entirely up to the demands of the story. Honestly, it has all the earmarks of an inventory story, pulled out of the drawer before it had no further use. In the end, I can only see it being a necessary story for hardcore Blackhawks fans

OVERALL GRADE: D+

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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