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COMIC REVIEW:
BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK #1

Author: Bill Ramey
Friday, September 8, 2006

SYNOPSIS FROM DC COMICS:
Join Matt Wagner as he revisits the early career of the young Batman in another adventure inspired by DC's Golden Age in this blood-curdling sequel to BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN!

The Dark Knight is learning that there are more twisted faces of evil than those worn by the street criminals and mobsters of Gotham. Now, Batman must counter sinister machinations and new dimensions of wickedness as he confronts the hooded menace of the Mad Monk!

BATMAN: YEAR ONE may be my favorite Batman story of all time. THE LONG HALLOWEEN and DARK VICTORY are both right up there with it. What these stories have in common is that they all feature a young, up and coming Dark Knight. This review pertains to a tale of The Batman that fallas somewhere in between those two classic stories.

When I first heard of this BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK (BATMM) miniseries that was coming out, I wasn’t tremendously interested.

Then I read the review written by BIC contributor Robert Reineke’s REVIEW of issue #1, my interest was perked. So when I saw it at the comic book shop I frequent, I decided to pick it up and give it a go.

BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK is written and drawn by Mat Wagner (MAGE, GRENDEL), BATMM certainly has a “Year One-ish” feel to it with both its art and story. However, it isn’t as gritty as the aforementioned Bat-tale and it certainly isn’t as realistic.

Why isn’t as realistic? Well, because it is the story of The Batman’s first encounter with supernatural elements. Of course, a billionaire that dresses up like a bat and fights crime is not likely to happen either -- but y’all know where I’m coming from here.

The thing is that you actually don’t realize that The Dark Knight is going to meet up the paranormal until the very end of issue #1, so most of the story is a “normal” Bat-tale, if you will.

What is clear is that Jim Gordon (who is now a GPD captain) and The Batman are now partners. In fact, we first encounter Gordon on the rooftop of GPD waiting for The Batman after being paged (Isn’t that so 90s?). It was nice to see ‘ol Jimbo kick some major corrupt-cop ass (they were there to see what he frequents the roof) before he succumbs to the affects of his major vice. However, The Dark Knight arrives just in time to lend a hand in a scene that looks like it was influenced by BATMAN BEGINS AND BATMAN '89.

Gordon takes The Batman to the city morgue to check out to recent murder victims who have had their throats ripped out without a trace of blood left in their bodies. So what does The Darknight Detective deduce from the evidence?

We’ll find out in the next issue -- I think.

The story ends with a kidnapping of a young girl by some character called “Dala.” She intends to brings this young gal back to some organization called “The Brotherhood.”

Also thrown in the plot-mix is Bruce Wayne’s girlfriend Julie Madison -- whose father has something going on that will eventually (can we say “foreshadowing”) tie into the murders being investigated by The Batman.

And you Selina Kyle fans will be happy to know that Catwoman shows up at the very beginning of the story. It remains to be seen whether or not Ms. Kyle will play a part in the story as it progresses.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK's first issue quite a bit. I’m not ready to put it up there with B:YO or THE LONG HALLOWEEN, but I'm willing to see how the thing plays out.

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