Batman: Black and White #1
Review by Patrick Brennan
This week in the DC universe has felt a bit like a return to the 90’s. The beginning of Villain’s Month, with its eye-popping 3D covers, harkens back to the days of good old fashioned gimmicks meant to separate us from the contents of our wallets. But it seems something that made its debut during that era has also returned. Batman: Black and White is back, showcasing some great stories from a line-up of writers and artists that are sure to make many fans drool. The stories in this first issue range greatly in terms of which corner of the Batverse is being visited (a charming characteristic of the series since day one of its initial run) resulting in a collection that has something for everyone.
“Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When” by Chip Kidd and Michael Cho is a Batman story that resembles something from the Dark Knight’s newspaper-strip days, while Neal Adam’s “Batman Zombie” feels like it’s straight out of the master storyteller’s heyday in the 70’s. If you’ve been hankering for some classic animated series-style Harley & Ivy, you’ll enjoy Joe Quinones and Maris Wicks’ “Justice Is Served.” John Arcudi’s “Driven” shows the little seen car-nut side of the Caped Crusader, and “Head Games” by Howard Mackie and Chris Samnee ends the issue in disturbing fashion with a horror/thriller yarn.
It’s hard to pick a standout piece in this collection, simply because it feels like comparing apples and oranges. Each story has a unique feel and quality that sets it apart from the others. “Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When” is a lot of fun, and features a couple of really nice moments thanks to artist Michael Cho’s pulp-style work. “Justice Is Served” offers some great cartoon-style hijinks, along with a few genuine laughs. And Sean Murphy’s art in “Driven” is freakin’ glorious, to say the very least.
The only weak tale of the five, surprisingly enough, is comic book legend Neal Adams’ outing. Visually, this piece is absolutely stunning. Done entirely in pencil, it has a warm and personal touch that makes you feel like Adams himself is drawing it right before your eyes. From a writing standpoint, however, it unexpectedly falls flat. It’s a confusing story with a heavy-handed ending that leaves you feeling slightly deflated.
Pick this book up, Bat-fans. Batman: Black and White is an awesome anthology that promises something for just about anyone. It’s well worth the $4.99 price tag.