Friday, April 17, 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight #9 Review

Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Ig Guara
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: April 17, 2015

Heating Up

From the sales numbers of the collected print version of this comic, it looks like I'm not it's only fan. Thank goodness, I was starting to worry that people weren't listening to me as I begged and pleaded with them to read this book.  Actually, it didn't take much of either to get anyone excited about Arkham Knight, it really sold itself.  Peter Tomasi's story has been strong throughout and the art from Victor Bogdanovic and Ig Guara has been stellar.  This issue is the finale of the third arc and while I am still begging for some actual Arkham Knight, the guest stars make the wait a bit easier.  Do they also make this another kick ass issue?  Let's find out...

The issue opens in Saint Ignatius Hospital where Batman is practicing his bedside manner as Lucius Fox heals from Harley's attack.  It's not a crucial scene to the overall story, but feels more like a quick fix to the laptop problem from last issue.  I didn't mind it, however, because I really like the interaction between the two.  When Batman makes a quick exit, I was reminded of one big fact...this is a tie-in to the Arkham games.

I know that sentence sounds silly.  Of course this is a tie-in to the Arkham video games, but hear me out.  This is the first issue that it really feels like it.  Batman swings from Gargoyles, he glides and he dives.  It is so awesome and I hope we get more of it in all the issues in the future.

You know what else I want more of?  Oracle.  She gives Batman a person to bounce his thoughts off of and adds her smarts and humor to the book.  If you want to see what I mean, check out the discussion between them about Gotham.  It is one of the best explanations of why the villains of Gotham keep coming back and why they always fail.  Bravo Tomasi.  The scene ends with the idea of a mystery man who Batman and Oracle think could be Mayor.  Who could that be?

One of the craziest bits from last week was when the Abramovici Brothers found Scarecrow's hideout. It gets even crazier this week.  We see that everything they do is for the attention of their father, but everything is not what they seem.  I know that sounds like a cliched bunch of crap on my part, but I don't want to spoil such a great reveal.

The issue continues back in the Batcave where Tim Drake is struggling with his training.  This is my favorite part of the issue.  Watching him fight a Deadshot simulator is cool enough, but Bruce's comments are priceless.  It's no surprise that Bruce is hard to impress and when he finds out he has to leave on "business", Tim is happy to get some alone time.  In another awesome "video game moment", Bruce sets up the simulator for Tim and it's a who's who of awesome villains...Killer Croc, Clayface and Bane.  Speaking of Bane...

The ending of the issue shows what I thought all along...the mysterious man we've seen for weeks now is Bane.  He looks like he is getting closer to fighting shape so I hope that Tim works hard on that simulator.

I am a tiny bit conflicted with this issue.  I loved so much about it, but it really didn't push the story forward at all.  No Harley, no Arkham Knight.  However, we do get some really awesome setup that has me very pumped for the next arc to start.  The cast of characters is growing and they are going to be looking for trouble.

Ig Guara's art continues to impress.  This book really is one of the best looking ones out right now and Julio Ferreira (inks) and Andrew Dalhouse (colors) are a huge part of it as well.  I really am having trouble figuring out how I can keep praising the art each week and not sound like a raving fanboy.  It's that good.

Bits and Pieces:

While this issue is more setup than an arc finale usually is, the cast of characters make it so good. Better yet, the cast is growing.  The story and art is so strong and it really is just getting started.  I can't recommend it enough.


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