BATMAN ON FILM, since June 1998!


Author: Bill Ramey
Saturday, March 24, 2007

FROM DC COMICS: "Part 4 of the 6-part "Rules of Engagement." Lex Luthor has supplied his prototype G.I. Robot to the military ó and only Batman knows there's a viper in the Pentagon's nest. But Lex Luthor knows as well, and attacks Batman in the Batcave to prevent being exposed!"

The inaugural storyline of BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL -- ďRules of EngagementĒ -- continues in Part 4 of the newest Bat-comic from DC Comics. For those unaware, this tale depicts the first meeting between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Lex Luthor.

The latest issue begins with Luthor delivering his Robot GIís as Luthorcorp won the contract over Waynetech to supply such devices to the government. Unbeknownst to the Pentagon, Luthor has something else in mind other than handing over his robots as promised -- like taking over the government.

In the meantime, Luthor has also infiltrated The Batcave via some sort of robot bat (Yes, Iím serious) that has compromised The Batplane as well as other Bat-toys. Consequently, all hell breaks loose in the Cave as The Batplane begins shooting at both The Batman and Alfred. The Dark Knight is able to avoid a missile strike, but falls into the lower reaches of his lair -- sure death it would seem.

But no! This book gives us stories from the early years of The Batmanís career, so there is no way heís going to get whacked. So what saves him from meeting his maker? Bat-crap. (Yes, Iím serious).

I have high hopes for this title -- mostly because I really dig the stories about the beginning of The Bat. Unfortunately, ďRules of EngagementĒ ainít no YEAR ONE, THE LONG HALLOWEEN, or BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK.

Again, the storyline is simply ďOKĒ and nothing more. Basically all we get out of issue #4 is that Luthor is a power-hungry A-Hole. Like we didnít already know that, right? In addition to the lackluster plot, the artwork still leaves A LOT to be desired. Take this issue for instance, Luthorís look changes from panel to panel -- the only indicator that itís Luthor is the fact that dudeís bald! And Iím sorry, Batmanís cowl looks, well, awful. And donít get me started on Alfred -- who looks like heís sporting a toupee!

Honestly, the story isnít all that bad. It simply seems to be moving awfully slow and lacks the ďWow!Ē factor, if you will. It also has a bit of a "been there, done that" feel to it as it is revealed that Luthor has it in for costumed superheroes.

Still, Iím not ready to give up on this title due to one lackluster storyline. Hopefully, future issues will give us something more interesting; such as: The Batmanís first encounters with various members of his rogues gallery, more about the early years of Batman and Gordonís partnership, etc.

But you know, this ďRules of EngagementĒ still has two parts left to go, and maybe itíll end on a strong note. Hereís hoping so.

"Jett" is the founder and editor-in-chief of BATMAN ON FILM, BATMAN IN COMICS, and ON-FILM.NET.

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