Sunday, September 20, 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight #31 Review

Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Viktor Bogdanovic, Richard Friend, John Rauch and Deron Bennett
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: September 18, 2015

Step it Up Gotham

I have gone on the record as saying that Batman: Arkham Knight is the best Batman book out today. I'm sure that some have rolled their eyes at that statement, but I stand by it.  Each week, Peter Tomasi has been giving fans a great book that combines action, adventure and a large dose of mystery into a whole that really has been tough to beat.  That continued the last two weeks as Calendar Man has set up a test for Batman that involves 365 victims, a baby and one really tired Dark Knight.  So, does the greatness continue this week?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with Vicki Vale reporting on the recent happenings in Gotham.  She's been handed the list of poisoned Gothamites and while they are being broadcast over the air, Jim Gordon and the GCPD spring into action.  Then there is the little problem of Batman being passed out in the street. While Vale wants to get the ultimate scoop, Tim Drake swoops in and takes the other half of the Dynamic Duo away to safety.

While this opener was okay, I did like what happened as a result.  With Batman down for the count, Oracle declares that it's time for Gotham to step up and show him what they have learned. Just wait until you see who answers the call.

We then see Bruce and things do not look good.  He is a total mess, but that's nothing compared to the reputation of his alter ego.  Yep, Gotham is starting to ask if they would be better without Batman.  Two people who don't agree are Alfred and Jim Gordon.  The former is no surprise, but with his campaign for Mayor just starting, Gordon's support of the Bat me not be as wise as it usually would be.

The story shifts to the man who got all this rolling, Julian Day.  He is sitting by himself, or so he thinks.  The Scarecrow has shown up and we don't get any idea of why he is there, but he certainly looks scary and awesome.

The issue ends with the back end of some serious surgery and Batman suiting up.  It's obvious from Alfred's pleas that he's not anywhere near 100%, but he is the Batman and I guess that's going to have to be enough.

This issue is setup, plain and simple.  The best part is seeing the cool characters that respond to the call to help the poisoned victims of Gotham.  I am also interested in seeing what the Scarecrow is up to, but it doesn't change the fact that the story pauses a bit for the arc's finale next week.

Viktor Bogdanovic's art is as good as always.  The highlight is his character work with the Scarecrow being the best.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue was a bunch of setup as Calendar Man's plan is in full effect.  I loved seeing the various characters who stepped up to help Gotham in Batman's absence, but after a little downtime, the Dark Knight is back on the case himself.  Viktor Bogdanovic's art was top notch, but the story doesn't really go forward enough.  I can still recommend this book to anyone who wants a great batman story, just don't start here.


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