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COMIC REVIEW:
BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK #2

Author: Bill Ramey
Thursday, September 28, 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 AND THE MAD MONK continues with issue #2 which hit newsstands yesterday (9/27/06).

As Part 2 commences, we find ourselves witness to a gathering of this “The Brotherhood” called a “Blood Communion.” The young girl that was kidnapped from a bar in the previous issue by a member of The Brotherhood awakens to find herself tied to a table with clothes astray. It is quite obvious to both the reader and this young girl that she’s there as a sacrifice. Soon, Niccolai -- the Mad Monk himself -- appears and does the whole vampire thing on this poor young girl.

Eventually, the girl’s body is dumped in Gotham and both The Batman and Captain Jim Gordon realize that they have a serial killer loose in town. However, what they don’t realize is that these murders are not the work of a single killer, but an entire macabre organization -- drinking the blood of innocent victims as part of the ritual of the “Brotherhood of the Eternal Night.”

While The Batman’s pursuit of the killer is the core of this story, there is also a nice subplot involving Bruce Wayne’s main flame Julie Madison and her father. Julie is constantly worrying about her father (who hasn’t been the same since the events of BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN), and now wondering why Mr. Right often has “business” at nights and comes home with cuts and bruises. As her paranoia over Bruce grows, she finds herself staking out Wayne Manor, monitoring Bruce’s comings and goings.

Matt Wagner continues doing an excellent job updating this story -- which is actually based on one of the earliest Bob Kane/Bill Finger Batman stories) -- and placing it into the timeline of the early Batman (It fits nicely into what was established in YEAR ONE, THE LONG HALLOWEEN, and DARK VICTORY). While it’s a story from the early years of The Batman, Wagner nicely adds contemporary ideas such as finding DNA evidence at a crime scene -- which it seems The Batman is an expert at analyzing as well.

And I must note Wagner’s artwork -- I love it! Hell of a job making The Batman look retro, but not outdated. Dave Stewart does a nice job on colors as well. Oh, and the cover is cool too -- The Batman‘s glove reaching out of a pool of blood.

So far, the fantastical element of this story (vampires) has not overshadowed the realistic aspects. It’ll be interesting to see how Wagner combines the two elements as the story progresses

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