Images © DC Comics, Inc.
The title of this series includes the word Odyssey. If writer/artist Neal Adams intends a comparison to Homer’s “Odyssey,” how would that work? A long voyage across the landscape and characters of Batman’s world, perhaps? Okay, probably doesn’t fly, but Neal’s attempting to get lots of characters and lots of plot into these pages, and it’s becoming overcomplicated and somewhat confusing to this reader at least. We have Aquaman, Man-Bat, another Man-Bat, Talia Al-Ghul, The Joker, a bunch of other Jokers, Deadman, Commissioner Gordon and some odd policemen in this issue, while the setting moves from the wharf in Gotham Harbor to Arkham Asylum, conveniently just up the coast. (Don’t think AA has ever been next to the water before, but I could be wrong about that.) Neal’s writing continues to veer wildly from odd to funny to clumsy to clever. It’s kind of a roller-coaster ride, and if you’re willing to go with it and not get stuck on the tracks somewhere, it’s kind of fun.
This issue I’m actually enjoying the little details he’s throwing into the art more than anything. There’s a great scene where Batman changes his thoroughly ripped and battered costume for a new one, and Neal has thought of some nifty things about that costume. Then there’s an art exhibit built around some of the sources for The Joker’s mad grin that’s great, too. In general, Neal’s art looks terrific, though his characters still tend to overact on a pretty regular basis. But they look good doing it.
Generally recommended, more for the art than the writing this time.