Saturday, August 1, 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight #24 Review

Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Viktor Bogdanovic, Richard Friend, and John Rauch
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: July 31, 2015

Friendly Fire

This book continues to be one of my favorites week in and week out because of a couple of factors.  Peter J. Tomasi's writing, of course, is the major reason, but it's just as much what he doesn't write than what makes the page.  It sounds funny to say it, but he really seems to be trying to make this book legit.  Listen, I've read enough of these tie-in books (and a bunch of them of the digital variety) to know that sometimes the creative teams rely too much on the hype of the source material and in turn use the book as an easy paycheck.  I'm not saying they mail it in...actually, I am.  This is not one of those books and Peter J. Tomasi and Viktor Bogdanovic are not one of those creative teams.  Speaking of Viktor, his art is another reason this book rises above the others.  He is a rising star and it's cool to hang with him on the ground floor before he becomes a big shot, wearing an over sized bow tie, riding around town in his rickshaw.  That's what big shots do, right?  Anyway, last issue of Arkham Knight featured Batman teaming up with Deadshot to take down Killer Croc and investigate what the hell Penguin is doing with Stagg Industries and this whole Project Meta thing.  Does this issue continue the fun of the best buddy pairing since Riggs and Murtaugh?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with some Arkham Knight action and it's the most personal look at the title character we've gotten so far.  I know that it's naive of me to think that there is even a handful of people who don't yet know who the Arkham Knight is, but that doesn't stop Tomasi from continuing the slow reveal of this mysterious villain.  After this issue, it's obvious that the Knight has a personal issue with Batman and knows more about him than your average Gotham rogue.  In fact, he seems to know too much.

The fun continues as we drop in on Batman and Deadshot.  I never would have thought these two would be this much fun together, but their interaction is laugh out loud hilarious.  It's classic comedy schtick with Deadshot letting zingers fly while Batman is the driest straight man since Bud Abbot. After dispatching some baddies, they get inside Stagg Industries and start trying to figure out what the Penguin really is up too.  Of course, nothing is ever easy in Gotham and the duo get attacked by a heavily armed...scientist?!?

Up until this point, I was having my usual fun, but I must admit, this middle section was a bit too over-the-top and confusing.  The scientist might as well have yelled "say hello to my little friend" as he flung everything and the kitchen sink at Batman and Deadshot.  Then suddenly a monster appears and is gone before the reader can even react.  The scientist tries to explain what it was, but as for now, I'm lost.  I know it's part Clayface mud and that Batman is going with the cliched "there is still human somewhere inside it".

The issue ends with Nightwing having some motorcycle trouble thanks to the Arkham Knight and Batman coming in contact with the mysterious new monster.  I'd love to say that it was an awesome cliffhanger, but I was left scratching my head a bit.

I still really enjoyed this issue as a whole, but as I've said a couple of times, I'm a little confused.  I'm sure that Tomasi will explain things a little further, but hopefully he'll do a better job than the scientist in this issue.  I did love the continuing greatness of the Batman and Deadshot teamup and if you are trying to figure out the identity of the Arkham Knight, this issue gives you the most information yet.

Viktor Bogdanovic continues nailing the art out of the park in this book.  Everything looks so good, especially the character models.  This issue is filled with action scenes and he plays them fast and furious with his panel layout and explosions galore.

Bits and Pieces:

While this issue ended up with more questions than answers, I had a good time watching my favorite action duo, Batman and Deadshot, get further down the Project Meta rabbit hole and the Arkham Knight make things a little more personal.  The art and the action were great, but we'll have to wait for a little more clarity when it comes to the new threat that was unleashed on Gotham.  That's okay, though, because I'm in for the long haul.


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