Images © DC Comics, Inc.
I’m liking this more in the second issue, perhaps because I’m getting a better feel for Neal Adams’ storytelling methods. They’re quirky at times, but certainly not boring. The issue opens with Bruce Wayne sans shirt in the batcave speaking directly to the reader to recap issue 1 and also defend his own storytelling to Robin, a nice bit. Then the terrorist story from issue 1 continues, with lots more graphic gunfire directed at Batman, who’s finally knocked unconscious. Apparently not completely, though, as he returns to narrating the story of his early mission, the one he was telling to Robin in issue 1, and it’s actually even more interesting to me than the present-time story. Batman is trying to prevent a train bombing, and once he fails at that, trying to keep as many of the passengers as possible from harm. The train wreck alone is one of the most stunning images I’ve seen in a comic for some time, and while Neal plays up the melodrama and tortured expressions throughout, he sure can draw well.
On the next to last page we return to Bruce Wayne talking to the reader, and it took me a little while to realize it, but it’s the exact same art as page 1 with different dialogue and one important color change. One could look at this as the artist trying to save time, but in fact I think it’s just a very clever storytelling device that works fine. And hats off to Neal for it.
One other thing I like about this book is that it presents a very rational, intelligent and human Bruce Wayne/Batman. None of that broody, cranky, sarcastic and brutal stuff that others have put on him in recent times. This is a man you could imagine sitting down and having a reasoned conversation with, or maybe even a beer. A refreshing change.
Recommended in full this time, and looking forward to seeing what comes next.