Images © DC Comics, Inc.
We are about to enter a gallery. The exhibit is entitled, “Comic Art Perfection.” That’s how I feel about the pairing of penciller Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez with inker Kevin Nowlan. Each commands great strengths: mastery of anatomy, lighting, mood, composition, storytelling, perspective, character, drama, action, humor. And each brings out the best qualities of the other, making a team I can only describe as “Comics Perfection.” I’ve been reading comics a long time, and while there are other great artists and great art teams, it really doesn’t get any better than this for me. Look at that cover, a marvel of one-point perspective, lighting, color, drama. (And, of course, the excellent color throughout by David Baron is an important part of that, kudos to him as well. And how can I leave out the fine lettering by Ken Lopez?)
The insides are just as good. Every page deserves study. Every panel is a gem. Look at how Jose plays with the gargoyle in panel two, “mimicing” Batman’s expression. Look at the extreme perspective of the Batman figure in the last panel, the way the large figure in panel three twists dramatically, but not in the forced way of so much comics art. It’s realism enhanced in a way you can only find in the best comics art.
Fortunately, the story by writers Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir is quite good, too. The mysterious and deadly Tut speaks in riddles, sending Batman and Commissioner Gordon to Arkham to check on the whereabouts of The Riddler. But Riddler is there, and annoyed by the apparent competition, offers to help them, adding a second layer of fun to the pursuit of the murderous Tut. Issue 27 gets more into that, and the fact that the intended next victim is a gorgeous woman does no harm to the art whatsoever. Can’t wait to read the third and final part. Ah, if only all comics were this wonderful. Highly recommended!