Art by: Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia, Deron Bennett
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 5, 2016
The Monster Men story has not been the over-the-top fun fest that I was hoping when it was
announced. In general, it has been disappointing and only making me want the regular stories back even more than ever. I can't complain too much, however, as it's almost over and last issue's cliffhanger was pretty damn crazy. Nightwing and Gotham Girl are Monster Men...now we're talking! Does Steve Orlando build on that goodness and attempt a strong finish to the arc? Let's find out...
The issue starts with Batman and Batwoman still trying to bring down the multi headed, sheep/lion/bat thing that can't and never should be named. Duke wants to get off the bench and into the game, but Batman says no. It's so obvious that he will be entering the fray soon, whether Batman likes it or not.
We then get some of the first solid answers in this crossover...the stuff that Hugo Strange used to create his Monster Men is a variation of venom. You know, like the venom that Strange got from Bane in exchange for Psycho Pirate. Since Batman knew about this exchange (remember, Waller told him) already, this revelation was a bit of a letdown. It also makes it look like Batman really dropped the ball here since he didn't even get the ball rolling by telling Alfred and Duke about Hugo, Bane and the venom.
After Batwoman shows she's awesome by saving Batman, they finally see the new Nightwing and Gotham Girl. While Batman continues working on the Kaiju monster, Batwoman takes care of the young (newly monsterized) heroes. Batman uses what amounts to a magic potion to take down the monster before we shift over to the Alexander State Park Caves and check in with Steph, Cassandra and the ordinary citizens covered in red goo.
They are still trying to heat up the caves with flares when we go back to Batwoman trying to stop Nightwing, Batman facing Gotham Girl and Duke going against orders and leaving the cave. The best part of all of this is Batman who gets a little help from his friends (actually, Clayface) to fight Gotham Girl. Think of a Hulk Buster suit made of sentient clay! Unfortunately, it only works for a little bit, but Duke shows up with a better plan...as in a cure!
Before we see if it works, we do find out that Steph was right in the caves and everyone seems cured thanks to the flares. However, it's a monkey paw situation that throws our gals (and everyone in the cave) out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Back with Duke, we get to see that the cure works as Gotham Girl reverts back to herself, but it may already be too late for Batwoman and Grayson. I know that people have been waiting for someone to die in this story, but I never say anybody say it would be Kate!
This story is just getting goofier by the issue. It's not goofy fun, either, but the solutions pulled out of asses kind of goofiness that I hate. Steve Orlando does give us a couple of answers in this issue, but they actually make everything fall flat and feel like Batman should have at least known where to start looking in the first place.
I liked Riley Rossmo's art in his first issue of the crossover, but I didn't like it here. Actually, I hated it! Without a whole lot of Kaiju monsters in the issue, he had to focus on the characters and the results were pretty ugly.
Bits and Pieces:
This isn't just another disappointing issue of the Monster Men crossover, but my least favorite issue so far. The story and art were both lacking and I'm now officially looking past this nonsense and wanting our regular stories back right now. Please, give us our regular stories back!!!