Saturday, August 3, 2013

Batman Annual #2 Review

Annuals are a funny thing.  Sometimes you get a continuation of what is going on in the series.  Other times you get a stand alone story outside of the current arc.  What we get with Batman Annual #2 is more of the later.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have been killing the last two months with Year Zero, a retelling of the Batman origin story.  The annual breaks the flow and deals mainly in current Gotham which is a bummer.  Instead of Snyder and Capullo we get a story by  newcomer Marguerite Bennett and art by Wes Craig which is not a bad thing at all.

The story begins with Batman being locked in Arkham.   Spoiler alert...he is there to test the security of the Asylum.  It' s cool to watch him escape while pointing out flaws that the rougues gallery can, have and will exploit.  While this is happening, his presence is felt by Arkham's oldest patient, the Anchoress. 

The introduction of a good new villian is always tough, especially into the Batman universe.  Bennett succeeds in bringing a villian who is both sympathetic and scary.  The Anchoress has a fleshed out backstory and with ties to Year Zero, a reason to hate Batman.  She also does what most villians only dream of doing.  She takes Batman by surprise.  The issue ends with the reader (and hopefully Batman) wondering if Batman's methods are always right.

Batman readers have been spoiled by Greg Capullo's art, but Wes Craig does a really good job.  I like his depiction of Arkham and the Anchoress is great.

The stars of the book are writer Marguerite Bennett and the Anchoress.  I expect Bennett to graduate soon to her own title and the Anchoress to haunt Batman in the future.  Batman Annual #2 is a good stand alone issue worth the price of admission.


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