Friday, April 10, 2020

Convergence: Batman: Shadow of The Bat #1 (2015) Review

A Whale of A Tale

Written By: Larry Hama
Art By: Philip Tan, Jason Paz, Rob Hunter, Elmer Santos
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 15, 2015

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

To give you a little background here, we're dealing with a world where Bruce Wayne has just recovered from having his back broken and has taken the mantle of the Bat back from Jean-Paul Valley and his ridiculously awesome Azrael Bat-suit.  Both are in Metropolis when the Dome came down in this Pre-Zero Hour story, so let's what's going down as the Dome drops and shit gets real with these two!  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Our story begins with Bruce Wayne getting the shit kicked out of him by some of Tobias Whale's goons because he wants to join the gang so that he can earn a buck off of giving the mob the routes of the food trucks so that they can hijack the food........... and hold it ransom I guess.  Now, Whale knowing that Bruce Wayne is all high society and all that, he doesn't trust the pre-domed billionaire with his sudden criminal aspirations.  So to make sure that this isn't some big setup, Whale has the newest member of his gang beat Bruce some more so that they can get the truth out of him............. It's a good thing that the new guy happens to be an undercover Jean-Paul Valley........... Well, it's good because he at least kept his blows away from Bruce's back...... That's right, he still had to beat the hell out of Bruce to make it convincing.  It seems that both Bruce and Jean-Paul had the same idea about infiltrating Whale's gang to try and take out his criminal organization.  

So after the beating, the two go and report back to Whale who tells Bruce that he still doesn't trust him, so to earn that trust he has to use his political connections to find out the route the food trucks will take............ which was what Bruce had told Whale originally when he brought the proposal to him so I guess Whale wants to see if Bruce is writing checks his ass can't cash......... I don't know, the two go and talk to the Mayor, who Jean-Paul recognizes as a pyramid schemer from Gotham who stole a bunch of money from widows and apparently went to Metropolis and did really well for himself.  The two blackmail him for the truck route and then Whale has him killed anyway in case his conscious got the better of him and decided to blab........... Which I found odd because it seemed like Bruce was supposed to legitimately get the truck route, so as to not lead to any such murderous nonsense........ Again, I don't know.......This comic is very odd.  Well, with the truck route in place, Jean-Paul and Bruce leave to go suit up because they intend on taking down Whale and his goons in the act of hijacking the trucks............ Which I'm not sure is the best plan.  I mean, I don't know exactly what justice and life are like under the dome but wouldn't it have just made sense to bypass all this by just beating the hell out of Whale from the get-go?  Also, where are these food trucks coming from?  This almost feels like they're coming from out of town but that doesn't make sense.

In the end, Whale goes and hijacks the trucks and Batman and Azrael show up to take him down and after a very long fist fight between Batman and Tobias Whale............ Shit gets weird because the Dome comes down and it seems like the Wetworks characters from WildStorm are instantly there and possibly one of them was Whale's driver in disguise............. The ending to this book is so confusing, especially if you don't happen to know who these Wetworks characters are......... like me......... because all of a sudden they're just there with no explanation, using words like time slip and spacial slip like we're just supposed to know what they're talking about.  Our issue ends and Batman wants to figure out a plan so that they won't have to fight other cities and Azrael simply wants to crack some skulls.

That's it for this issue of Convergence: Batman: Shadow of The Bat and this was one of the biggest letdowns that I've had during this Convergence event.  While I initially really liked the art, I found out halfway through that it wasn't really suited to tell a story because once the action started I was completely lost.  On top of that, the dialogue was really lacking in believability.  People were just talking out loud explaining what was going on and it really threw me out of the book.  It just wasn't good.  Plus, the Wetworks characters just show up and act like they've been there all along and have been checking out what these heroes from Metropolis are like and I could have benefited a little if a background was given for these characters and I don't mean in the story.  At the section after the book where they tell you a little about the timeline we're exploring if they had realized that people might know more about Batman than Wetworks, I might have known what the hell was happening out of nowhere.  

Bits and Pieces:

As of right now, this issue is the biggest disappointment that I've had during Convergence.  Where I thought I'd get a cool walk down memory lane to when I first started reading Batman, instead I got an over-complicated sting operation story that I could barely understand because the art, while excellent to look at couldn't tell a complete story.  Not to mention my confusion when the Dome comes down.  I hate to be this negative but this book was really poorly crafted.



  1. This was the only Convergence story I picked up, because I'm one of the seemingly few members of the Azbat fan club and was stoked to see my favorite version of Batman back in action! But I agree completely with your review. . .beyond the awesome cover and some great interior art (that "two days later" panel above is SWEET!), this was a major disappointment. Thanks for the great review!

    1. I had a very similar experience with a lot of the Convergence books!