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Author: Bill Ramey
Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Horror master Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) joins painter Scott Hampton (BATMAN: NIGHT CRIES) for a Batman tale that uncovers the secrets of grisly murders outside Batman's usual the Gotham suburbs! This volume collects the acclaimed 3-issue miniseries."

FYI: Iím not the biggest horror fan in the world -- especially zombie stories or movies.

And when it comes to The Dark Knight, I prefer him and the stories he stars in the be realistic -- well, as realistic as it can be for a guy who dresses like a giant black bat and fights crime.

Consequently, BATMAN: GOTHAM COUNTY LINE wasnít my cup of tea.

Written by Steve Niles of 30 DAYS OF NIGHT fame, B: GCL finds The Dark Knight investigating a series of murders outside of Gotham City at the request of retired Gotham police Commissioner Jim Gordon. Once in Gothamís suburbs, The Batman discovers that there is a serial killer loose -- one that is murdering entire families. Rather quickly, Batman determines the identity of the killer and it looks as if the case has been solved. But actually, the main events of B: GCL are just beginning.

The Batman soon finds himself in a world in which he doesnít belong -- or believe in for that matter. Itís a world in which the dead continue to walk the earth --- which of course is totally illogical to a man grounded in reality and facts like The Batman.

With the help of Boston Brand AKA (ďDeadmanĒ) and briefly the Phantom Stranger, The Batman must solve a case in a manner other than his normal modus operandi.

OK, Iíll start with the good. The artwork consisting of Scott Hamptonís art and Jose Villarrubiaís colors was gorgeous. Being unfamiliar with Mr. Nilesí work, it was the artwork that initially prompted me to buy the book. OK, thatís about it for the good.

Frankly, elements of this story were absolutely ridiculous at times. The writing was, well, not good. The Batman's dialogue and internal thoughts were completely out of character and caused me to rolls my eyes and literally laugh out loud at times!

Furthermore, Niles has Batman constantly punching something just for the sake of, well, punching something. This got quite annoying rather quickly.

Other things that bugged the hell out of me: The Batman traveling via a jetpack with a huge exhaust flame. Wouldnít that literally catch his ass on fire? Hey, donít worry about his cape going up in flames because it rolls up quite nicely like a sleeping bag on a camping trip. On top of that, a zombie Jason Todd-Robin shows up towards the end to lend The Dark Knight a hand!

In addition to all that nonsense, I could never figure the continuity of this story. On the surface, it seems to be set prior to the events of INFINITE CRISIS. However, why is Jason Todd showing up because we know that he isnít really dead due to the events of the ďUNDER THE HOODĒ storyline. Also, Deadman, after he calls The Batman ďBruce,Ē says ďIím reasonably sure that Clark knows, but I didnít tell him.Ē WTF!? Hell, even Alfred shows up as a zombie without any explanation.

I canít say that I was disappointed in BATMAN: GOTHAM COUNTY LINE as I really wasnít expecting anything from the get-go. However, I certainly didnít care for all that much.

All in all, I canít -- and certainly will not -- recommend this book to the Bat-fans unless you buy these sort of books for the art and/or you can find it cheap somewhere.

Scott Hampton (art)
Jose Villarrubia (colors)
$17.99 (USA) $23.99 (Canada)

Bill Ramey, AKA "Jett," is the founder and editor in chief of

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