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COMIC REVIEW:
BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK #3

Author: Bill Ramey
Thursday, October 19, 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 #3 which hit news stands this past Wednesday (10/28/06).

If you are not reading the current Batman miniseries BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK by Matt Wagner, you are missing out. Iíve found this story -- set in the early years of The Batmanís career -- to be one of the best Batman tales of late.

To get you caught up, The Batman has been investigating a series of murders in Gotham that are, well, a bit strange. The bodies of the departed all have a huge gash in their necks and all their blood drained completely. Both Jim Gordon and The Batman feel that Gotham has a serial killer loose and both are totally puzzled about the modus operandi of the murderer.

The subplot of the story involves Bruce Wayneís girlfriend Julie Madison. Julie has grown quite concerned about the mental health of her father (see BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN to find out why) as well as a bit paranoid about the comings and goings of her boyfriend.

As we pick up with issue #3, Julieís path has crossed with The Monk and his operation, The Brotherhood. Well actually, itís not The Monk that Julie runs into, itís his liaison, the temptress and The Brotherhood member Dala.

At a bar, Dala overhears Julie talking to her girlfriends about her troubles with Dad and boyfriend and butts into the conversation. Passing The Monk off as some sort of counselor, Julie agrees to meet The Monk.

In the meantime, The Batman is doing what he does best -- kick some Gotham criminal ass. All the while heís interrogating the lowlife of Gotham trying to figure out the mystery behind The Monk. One of the best parts of this series is that The Batman has been shown being the detective that most fans love. Mr. Wagner knows Batman and itís the little things about the character he includes that has made reading MAD MONK enjoyable.

As with the previous two issues, Wagnerís writing is top notch. No doubt, this is a guy who really gets The Batman. This Batman is not a psycho -- heís truly a hero out to rid Gotham of crime and make a difference. And his Bruce Wayne is not some antisocial recluse either. Sure heís got his issues -- the dude dresses up like a giant bat and kicks the crap out of criminals for cripeĎs sake. Nonetheless, heís got a hot girlfriend and acts fairly normal for the most part.

Another great thing about this story is that even though there are elements of the supernatural (vampires), Wagner makes it realistic enough that it isnít an issue. The Batman is still battling the traditional crime elements of Gotham first and foremost (Sal Maroni and Carmine Falcone in a cameo). And one still wonders if this Monk is really a vampire -- or does he simply have his followers hoodwinked ala a David Koresh or a Charles Manson.

Like the previous two issues, #3 ends with a cliffhanger. Bruce discovers something shocking about Julie while on a date, and The Monk is concocting a plan for his Brotherhood that now includes the aforementioned Ms. Madison.

If you are not reading this and you fancy yourself a Batman fan, get your arse down to your local comic book shop NOW!

Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

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