Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Batman: Creature of the Night #3 Review


Written by: Kurt Busiek
Art by: John Paul Leon and Todd Klein
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: April 17, 2018

Batman: Creature of the Night was my pick for 2017 Book of the Year here at Weird Science.  Yea, I took a bit of flack since only two issue had come out, but they are over-sized and, well, they were both awesome.  Kurt Busiek’s story of an alt Batman is so good in spite of (or because of) there not being a “real” Bruce Wayne or Batman.  Now, I can't lie to you and say the massive delay to get to this issue hasn't dulled my excitement for the book a bit, but now that I have it in my hands, I can't wait to talk about it.  Was it worth the wait?  Let's find out…

The issue opens with a pretty awesome Detective Comics cover dealing with Bruce Wainwright's current state of mind and what's been going on in the book leading to now.  We get a concerned narration (from an unexpected source) telling us that Bruce hasn't been around the office and wondering where he has been.  Of course, he's doing Batman stuff, though a bit more subtle and undercover than before.

We finally see Bruce himself and find out the police have been tailing him, trying to connect him to the Bat.  We then go through a series of events that detail how Bruce and Batman have tried to make Boston a better place but keep finding out that if you get rid of one cockroach, another is sure to take its place...and the new one may be worse than the one you just got rid of.  Basically, they found out that our world is a really shitty place to live in!

At this point, I was back in this book so much.  Busiek's character work and Leon's art just sucked me into this dark and gritty world and while I wouldn't want to live there (Boston that is!), it's nice to visit it for 40 some pages.

Back to the story, Bruce is going through a bit of a crisis, wanting to tell Al and Robin about Batman while still trying to figure it all out for himself.  He eventually meets with Gordon, but while Gordon would certainly like to haul the Bat's ass downtown, Bruce can't really help him, even if he wanted to.

The book then takes a turn when Bruce finds out that a huge bit of information from his past.  I don't want to spoil it, but it is one of the main forces driving the narrative and possibly the first clue as to who or what this Batman really is.

From this point on, the book becomes a two-way street...Bruce trying to figure out the Bat while also teaming up with him to help Gordon "make the world a better place".  Unfortunately, this is where the book took its first nose dive in my opinion.  Don't get me wrong, seeing someone in a Batman book do actual detective work is awesome (and almost unheard of nowadays!), but it kind of comes out of nowhere and goes on way too long.  Plus, it involves a bit of street-level politics and that is just something I am not really into or even understand that well.  Your mileage may vary if that is your cup of tea, however.

There are big moments, though.  Bruce seems to figure out what the Bat is and there is some good conflict with him trying to figure out if he can change and grow.  There is also a major twist, but since the narrative is focusing on the idea that a person can't change the world, it almost feels like it didn't really matter in the end.  That's one of my biggest problems in this shift in the narrative this lessened the impact of the Bat and also this whole series in general.

The issue ends with yet another big moment, but the reader is left wondering what did or didn't happen and since I want more of this character and world, I'm definitely skewing in one direction.  We still have one more issue, but as I'm writing this, it isn't in the solicits through July.

Well, after the delays and the waiting, this issue was a bit of a letdown.  The last third of it started to drag and the end reveal was cool but wasn't as big as the setup.  I still hope issue #4 comes out, but I am not waiting with bated breath like I was for this one.

Bits and Pieces:

While this is still a good book, the delays and a downturn in the story have cooled me off a bit on the series.  The art is still stellar, but this issue (and the fact that #4 is nowhere in sight) has got me a bit down.


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