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COMIC REVIEW: BATMAN #656
Author: Bill Ramey
Thursday, August 3, 2006

Since I’ve returned to reading (and reviewing) the two core Bat-comics -- BATMAN and DETECTIVE -- I’ve very much enjoyed each issue that I’ve gotten my hands on. Well, that was until now.

BATMAN is in the midst of a storyline titled “Batman and Son,” written by Grant Morrison with art by Andy Kubert (pencils) and Jesse Delperdang (inks). The story continues in issue #656 with Bruce Wayne attending a London charity event and carrying on as quite the “playa.” To me, this was the best part of the comic as I’ve welcomed the “New Bruce” that has been depicted in the comics since the end of “Infinite Crisis.”

But the merriment soon comes to an end as an army of ninja Man-Bats -- yes, I’m serious -- attacks and The Batman soon arrives save the day. It is revealed that Dr. Kirk Langstrom was forced to turn over his Man-Bat serum to an unknown group of naredowells because, according to Langstrom, they made him do it.

But who is “they?” Well, if you’ve read the previous issue, you’ve got a pretty good idea.

From that point on -- which is basically the entire comic book -- The Batman is taking on the Man-Bats one by one. While the writing and artwork for this scene is quite good, it becomes a tad redundant after a few pages.

The end of #656 provides us with a “Big Reveal” which is essentially the same one we were treated to in the previous issue -- except for the fact that The Batman is now in on the secret.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed with BATMAN #656 -- “OK, but it could’ve been better” is an apt description. As I’ve said, I felt the story grew redundant and there was nothing that made say “Wow” or “Cool” as I read. Kubert’s Batman is very “Jim Lee-ish” and I’m not particularly fond of “Blue Batman” -- and I don’t mean that Bruce goes on a cursing rampage either. And why can’t Mr. Kubert make Talia look the same throughout the book?

I will say that even though this issue drew a “meh” from me, I am looking forward to seeing how this SUPERMAN RETURNS-like storyline plays out.

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

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