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Author: Bill Ramey
Saturday, January 13, 2007

FROM DC COMICS: "Part 2 of the 6-part 'Rules of Engagement,' written by Andy Diggle with art by Whilce Portacio and Richard Friend! Batman discovers the malevolent force behind the huge robot that's menacing Gotham City — and it pits Bruce Wayne head-to-head for the first time against the Metropolis mogul Lex Luthor."

The first story arch of the new Bat-title, BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL, pit’s the Batman (or is it Bruce Wayne?) against Superman rogue Lex Luthor. An interesting premise for sure, as Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne have a lot in common.

Issue #1 provided an interesting set-up: Wayne and Luthor go head to head in trying to win a government defense contract. And as issue #1 of this 6 part story (titled “RULES OF ENGAGEMENT”) came to an end, a Waynetech military robot-thing went on the attack in Gotham. Its target: Lex Luthor.

Look, I love stories of the “YEAR ONE-ish Batman,” and the whole Bruce Wayne vs. Lex Luthor is quite appealing. Consequently, I’m liking “RULES OF ENGAGEMENT” so far.

In issue #2, the story continues as both Bruce Wayne and The Batman try to the figure out what went wrong with his robot-thing -- which is actually called the O.G.R.E. -- and why it was after Lex Luthor. The destruction it caused bothers Wayne immensely, as it was “designed to save lives,” according to Bruce.

We discover that the O.G.R.E.’s “pilot” (it’s controlled remotely from Waynetech via some sort of “neural link” system) died during a test run prior to it going off in Gotham. However, a bit of the consciousness of the pilot, a Dr. Eugene Underway, has somehow been trapped within the O.G.R.E. “A ghost in the machine," is how The Batman describes it. And it seems as if the “sort of dead “doctor is after Lex Luthor. Revenge perhaps?

Now, on with the critical analysis.

I’m not digging Whilce Portacio’s artwork all that much. It’s “OK“ I guess, but the look of Batman’s cowl in this issue was terrible! Diggle provides some cool action sequences that don’t seem to come off as tight as they should due to the way they are drawn.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed the story so far, even though things are looking to be headed to a predictable conclusion. And what is that you may ask? Well, I’m willing to bet that Lex Luthor is behind it all! With that said, if writer Andy Diggle provides an interesting and less than predictable route to the outcome, the BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL‘s first story arch may end up a success.

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

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