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This series continues to both impress and confuse me in equal measures. The story is at times wildly melodramatic and over the top, at others effectively moving and wise. The over-the-top tends to drown out the wise moments, which are thrown in like punctuation in a speech with long sentences. The opening dialogue in issue 3 between Bruce Wayne and Alfred is written quite well, with nice and surprising changes in direction that make sense as a whole, though I think it’s fair to say Bruce has never been so open and emotional elsewhere. The long sequence pitting Batman against highly armed thieves that follows has as much gunfire, action and blood as a video game and requires some serious suspension of disbelief that any man, no matter how armored, could get through it. Old foes/friends show up: Talia al Ghul, The Riddler (sort of) and Man-Bat, while Robin and Commissioner Gordon have roles to play. Behind all the emotional scenery-chewing is a mysterious enemy that everyone but Batman seems to know something about, somehow pulling strings in this whole storyline. It’s hard to thing about that amid all the violence and screaming, though.
Then there’s the art. If anything, it’s even better in these issues, perhaps as Neal hits his stride and gets back into the flow of continuity art. More variety, better “acting”, even if much of it is overacting. Amazingly dynamic anatomy, deep perspective, wonderful storytelling. In fact, I’m enjoying the art so much I really don’t care if the story ultimately makes any sense or not. Bring it on, Neal… I’ll be reading! Recommended.