BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #4
Author: John Bierly
November 25, 2011
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SYNOPSIS: Batman must race against time to save a friend's life. But his mission may prove impossible as he reels under the weight of three hundred chemically enhanced super-criminals who stand against him. All clues point to one psychotic criminal, and all roads to a solution that will lead to one secret location... but will Batman arrive too late to stop the rage let loose on his city?

OK, so, I lied last month.

But not to you, loyal BOF readers! Only to myself, when I said issue #3 would mark my final review of BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT because I was tired of spending money on something so mediocre. I failed in my duty to find a replacement reviewer, and so here I am yet again, another $2.99 lighter and another 20 pages righter about my decision to walk away.

(EDITORíS NOTE: John did not fail as Tone Purzycki -- who currently reviews RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS for BOF -- volunteered to take over. Since John basically took $2.99 and set it afire, I thought the right thing to do was to post his review. Toneís review will be posted shortly. - ďJettĒ)

I am thrilled for those of you who are getting your moneyís worth out of this title, but all this book proves to me is that there IS such a thing as too much Batman if his adventures canít be any better than this. From the boozy boo-hoo voicemail Jim Gordon leaves for Bruce Wayne to the White Rabbitís inexplicable appearance in the woods outside the Bat Planeís secret launch hatch to the gift box that magically appears in Batmanís lap in the cockpit to a villain who magically appears atop a speeding airplane at altitude to Alfred trying to push an ice cream cone at Batman, my head got dizzy from not knowing what to do the most shaking about.

One could argue that a certain characterís whereabouts rule her out as being the White Rabbit. On the other hand, this book remains so random and haphazardly plotted that deciphering the scriptís true intentions remains elusive at best. Nothingís on the table, which means everythingís on the table. Isnít that silly?

The Flash is still running around trying to out-Flash the poison in his system that conveniently took him away from helping Batman at the end of last issue, Wonder Woman canít help because an apartment building is on fire, and Batman has an issue-long internal monologue about all the ways heís failing all the people around him by not simply doing any of the things he says he needs to do. Whew.

Paul Jenkinsís scripting is as arbitrary as ever (though Alfred has a few zingers), creating conflict out of thin air (and literally so, in the Bat-Plane sequence) and painting character motivations in the broadest strokes possible. He cites recent events in the other Batman books, but writes his characters in ways that donít fit with what any of the other writers are doing.

David Finchís pencils favor costumes over faces but still look formidable enough, even though the action in this issue isnít as engaging or as easy to follow as issue #3ís was.

This book is superficial and slight, offering slim entertainment thatís bested in every way by its peers (including Tony Danielís DETECTIVE, which I know many of you love but still doesnít pass muster for my dollars). Ė John Bierly

GRADE: A BIG FAT D!

John Bierly still can't believe he
gets to write for BOF.
Check out JOHNBIERLY.COM to read about the other things he writes about.

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