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Author: John Fallavollita
Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Before we start, as with most reviews, a warning: Here there be SPOILERS. I'm giving #648 a grade of 8/10 -- in case you want to read and not be spoiled. Here we go...

“All They Do is Watch Us Kill.“ BATMAN #648 opens with this simple statement that cuts the cover of this issue like a razor. The view is from the alley and Batman is flying from one rooftop to another distorted by a lens flare. Even this cover has a punch to it. Judd Winick has brought his A-game to his comic book work recently, and this book just bleeds mood.

The book opens with Alfred walking the quarter mile distance from the mansion to the mailbox. While he walks he reflects on an old hobby he and Bruce had; collecting books. Apparently Jason knew of this hobby as well as he sends a package with a couple of books and a lock of green hair (from The Joker).

Two story arcs kick off here. The first being what Jason is doing to the Joker. The second is the collision of the Red Hood and the Black Mask. The lock of hair is the only in to The Joker situation, but it can’t be good, or healthy. I see a shed and a bomb (A la “A Death in the Family“) in ‘ol clowny’s future, but that’s just me.

The Black Mask and Red Hood begin their new union with a show of good faith. Black Mask slaughters his capos in a hail of machine gun fire, only to find out Red Hood wasn’t really interested in the whole “Let’s unite in our villainy” thing as much as he was interested in the whole “Let’s trick you into slaughtering all of your capos in a hail of machine gun fire” thing. A brawl ensues between Red Hood and Black Mask and as The Batman arrives Jason collapses with a knife buried in his chest up to the hilt.

Jason Todd (as The Red Hood) steals the show, as he’s done since he was reintroduced. He’s got some real edge to him and you never really know what he’s going to do in any situation. If the rumors are true and he’s the next Nightwing, that would, in proper Queen’s English, rock the hizouse.

The Black Mask is almost as entertaining, but seems kind of bumbling at times. I was happy to see his more vicious side this issue. It gave him some credibility that he was lacking previously. All in all the issue was great. If I have to use a scale, I’d say a solid 8 out of 10.

Love this review? Hate it? John can be reached for comment at JOHNFAV@GMAIL.COM.

John Fallavollita is a contributor to BATMAN IN COMICS for BATMAN ON FILM


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