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Author: John Bierly
Friday, April 10, 2009

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: "'New Dawn' Part 3 of 3! Forced to work side by side, Batman and the Riddler may end up together forever…trapped inside King Tut's Tomb! Concluding Batman's first comic book encounter with the cursed King Tut!"

Lawfully wedded writers Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis continue -- and unfortunately conclude -- their fine, fun, three-issue run on BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL with the just-released issue #28. And it's great.

For those just tuning in, Weir and DeFilippis decided to bring King Tut from the old Adam West TV show into modern comics continuity. I initially scoffed when I heard that, and I owe these delightful scribes an apology for doubting them. (In my defense, I was initially worried because most of the previous stories in this title haven't exactly inspired confidence.)

This has easily been my best-reviewed CONFIDENTIAL storyline ever. And like I said when I reviewed the first issue, the only "camp" in "A New Dawn" is of the Crystal Lake variety. The mysterious King Tut has been killing off museum executives with a goal that became clear in last month's excellent issue, and he's proven more than a match for Batman's physicality and The Riddler's dizzying intellect.

Yes, Batman is teamed with The Riddler. And it works. And it makes sense. Because even though Batman's smart enough to figure out riddles, he knows The Riddler is smart enough to anticipate them. (And The Riddler reminds him of this. Often.) The writers have really written this "partnership" well. Of course The Riddler annoys Batman, and of course it makes witnesses nervous to see Batman hanging around with a known bad guy, but people are dying and Batman is all about results. Period. (That's what I like about Batman in the Nolan movies, for example. He's a loner to a certain point, but he's also smart enough to know when to count on a Jim Gordon or a Lucius Fox. And Alfred, too, of course.)

We last left Batman and The Riddler in an explosive trap set by Tut to blow them up. But you have to wake up pretty early in the morning to blow up Batman, so it's not exactly a spoiler to reveal that he and The Riddler survive the blast. (Tut should have tried to zap him into the prehistoric past of another dimension. I hear that works. Whammy!)

Someone who might

not survive is Tut's last surviving target, Leigh Carson, who faces danger by lounging around in some of the hottest lingerie ever to grace a pencilled page. Can Batman save her in time? Will The Riddler follow through with his promise to help Batman, or will his lesser tendencies get the better of him when opportunity quite literally strikes? And why did the moment in STARGATE where Kurt Russell says, "Give my regards to King Tut, a$$h-le," just pop into my head?

I really can't say enough good things about this story. As good as the first two issues were, the third and final chapter is even better. The action is HUGE, with Weir and DeFilippis using the ancient Egyptian angle to create some awesome Indiana Jones action sequences. Mystery! Murder! Intrigue! And lots of Batman being Batman.

And I could give you a list of all my favorite fun and clever quotes and dialogue exchanges, but it would be like trying to tell somebody all the funny parts from an episode of THE OFFICE. It's better just to sit them down and show them. So please buy these three issues (#s 26-28) and find out for yourself, and let's show DC Comics that we want more good stories featuring Bruce Wayne as Batman. (I can't believe we even have to ask for that in the first place -- it's like having to ask for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with peanut butter on it.)

Just as awesome as the writing here is the art by legendary pencils/inks dream team Jose Luiz Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan, with dynamic colors by David Baron. It has the fluid movement that Neal Adams used to do so well, and Garcia Lopez particularly does great facial work. You can see The Riddler playing all the angles in his brain, and you can feel Batman's detective gears grinding underneath his cowl.

The book ends with a delicious twist teasing that even though this story is over, it's only over for now. And I really, really, really want it to continue. The whole thing looks, feels, and plays like a 1970s issue of DETECTIVE COMICS, and I love that about it.

I think you'll love it, too. So big thanks to this creative team for reminding us why we love Batman when DC is trying to hard to convince us that their billion-dollar hero is a better caveman than a Caped Crusader. Pffffffffft. - John Bierly

Indiana native John Bierly started writing for publications when he was 17 and never stopped.
His favorite things in life are family and friends, concerts, burgers, Mountain Dew, and of course...
You can read his blog at JOHNBIERLY.COM.


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