This three issue arc is written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by J.H. Williams III. I’ve worked with JH a lot, so it was interesting for me to read these as a non-participant to see if his art was as exciting to me as a reader as it usually is when I’m lettering over it.
The answer is yes, the art is terrific. The writing is quite good as well, with Grant telling the sort of mystery story that was made famous by Agatha Christie — gather a crowd of suspects in a remote location and tease the reader with all sorts of clues about who the real killer among them is, knocking off people one by one until all is revealed. And Batman gets to be a detective for once, which rarely happens in his stories these days.
JH’s art continues to explore the boundaries of style and layout, with a variety of each. Jim approaches each new page with enthusiasm, trying to do something different every time, both to keep himself and the reader interested. Occasionally this can be distracting and overpower the story, but usually it’s very effective. Here’s an example:
On this page from issue 667 we have a seven panel page unlike any I’ve ever seen before: a full-page grand-entrance shot of Batman, and over his torso six small reaction shots from the other characters to that entrance. In the hands of a lesser talent this could have been a confusing mess, but JH makes it work by contrasting the style and the color treatment of the two types of shots. It breaks all kinds of rules, but it works beautifully for me.
If you want to see Batman in a story produced by a writer and artist at the top of their game, you need look no further!
hey there todd
thanks for the graciously kind words. i certainly wished i had you to letter this one but no luck. our next project together will be just as challenging. from now on you must be the letterer for my work or i won’t do the work. glad you like that i break the rules sometimes.
You’re welcome, Jim, and thanks for commenting.
Todd, I’m truly enjoying your “And Then I Read…” posts. This one inspired me to comment here. The scan you used as an example of JH’s work blew me away. Thank you for posting it!
You’re welcome, Geoff.
i just finished reading this graphic novel it blew me away JHWIII rocks the entire world with his work sometimes