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COMIC REVIEW: BATMAN #650
Author: John Fallavollita
Friday, February 24, 2006

So… BATMAN #650 dropped this week. Want to talk about something else?

Seriously?

Ok, fine. I actually read the issue twice. I did this because after I read it the first time I was ready to turn all of the guns on it for being a big pile of crap, which could possibly have been unfair. So I read it again and well, it was fair.

Bludhaven is in ruins now after the dropping of Chemo, the chemically based villain who’s only moderately offensive to people dealing with cancer, right into the heart of the city. (See INFINITE CRISIS for the details.) Here’s the funny part. Batman was on a rooftop in crime alley when Chemo (I can’t even write that name without feeling a little guilty) is dropped on Bludhaven. However, if you read INFINITE CRISIS, Batman is right by Nightwing’s side instantaneously. Not too big a deal, since he is Batman for crying out loud, but it still made me curious.

The Bludhaven thing aside, the other thing that this story arc seemed to promise is the showdown of Batman vs. Jason Todd! (Cue Monster Trucks announcer guy telling “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!) And that, my friends, is a pretty good fight. What I liked about it is that it was a very cerebral fight scene that only occasionally burst into emotions. The retread of the whole “why Batman won’t kill the Joker” thing is tired. Plus it’s done way better in HUSH. Jason’s reasoning for why he is how he is tries to be original, but it’s forced. Oddly enough it fits perfectly with Jason’s character, but it still feels forced.

The art is still muddled and murky. The other reason I read the issue twice was to figure out what the heck is going on. So they were playing with C4? The Joker still looks like Robert Smith? Jason needs to lose the lipstick? At one point there’s some C4 attached to a cable attacked to a rocket somehow, or that’s what it looks like. I don’t know if it’s the art or the script that’s responsible, but for a visual medium it’s awfully hard to tell what’s going on.

The hardest thing about this issue, after all is said and done, is that this story arc contained so much promise. It was dripping with mood, tension, humor and a really good premise only to turn into yet another title spinning its wheels until INFINITE CRISIS is over. We’re no better off than when we started this story arc, and I’m really glad “One Year Later” starts soon, because this is getting old fast.

Next week! Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel! BATMAN ANNUAL #25! Sunday! Sunday! Sun… sorry. The story of Jason Todd’s resurrection. Along with the never used page from Jim Aparo that show what would have happened if the fans voted Jason’s way and let him survive. Now this should be interesting.

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

John really feels like he should write a bio for himself: He is a college drop-out with no formal training in literature or critiquing (he cites his mutilation of grammar as proof). He has written several short stories that have won no awards (nor are they published). He is currently agonizing over a graphic novel, which he hopes will break him onto the comics scene like this generation’s answer to Elvis. Now he’s pretty sure he knows why he never wrote a bio.

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