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BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #46
Author: Robert Reineke
July 11, 2010
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OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Surrounded by a cavalcade of corpses, and with the mad Professor Combs running free, Batman and the vampire Dimeter find themselves outmatched and outnumbered by the ravenous undead. This looks like a job for Superman!

BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #46 shows all signs of being padding for an inevitable trade paperback. Itís essentially one big fight scene with one significant plot point. And a ludicrously long and improbably fight scene considering Superman guest stars in this issue. And before the issue is over another guest star drops by thatís more than capable of handling the problem alone.

The issue reads like this was intended as a Superman/Batman mini-series and then shunted over to BC without change. And change would make the story stronger. Batman, a vampire, and a werewolf against a horde of zombies is a difficult fight with danger. Toss in an invulnerable man with the power of flight and the ability to change the course of rivers, and the question is why the fight lasts more than two pages. Thereís no sense of geography and, even worse, no innocents in the area that need saving and provide complications for the heroes. Itís ill conceived. Even more ill conceived is that the villains are apparently going to escape from Superman in a prop airplane.

Perhaps an example of the ďidiot plotĒ in action. Thereís plenty of action, but it comes at the expense of misusing Superman. Perhaps the answer would be not to use Superman in the first place. To top it off, theyíre not giving Batman much to do except fight either. How about instead of being given the answer of where to go next, Batman does some detective work?

The dialogue is serviceable to good, although perhaps a bit self aware, and you can tell Kevin Van Hook is trying to channel his inner SWAMP_THING-era Alan Moore at times in his use of narration, but those efforts are shackled to a series of events that donít make much sense.

The real saving grace of this issue is Tom Mandrakeís art. Thereís a particularly nice werewolf transformation page that moves the eye along the page perfectly. While there are quibbles to be had with some of the panels in regards to rendering, overall itís hard to fault Mandrakeís moodiness, dynamism, and storytelling. The one shortcoming is that he has a hard time integrating Superman, who he depicts as appropriately heroic and full of light, with the more horrific goings on.

Still, Mandrakeís art isnít enough to save an ill conceived issue. While the atmosphere of the story is fine, along with much of the dialogue, and the art is much better than serviceable, the plotting is so weak as to be non-existent. Thereís a reason that authors donít put big fight scenes with men from Krypton in the middle of horror stories, and this is a reminder of why.

GRADE: D+

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

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