Friday, September 21, 2018

Batman #55 Review


You Give Love a Bad Name
Writer: Tom KingArtist: Tony DanielCover Price: $3.99Release Date: September 19, 2018
I am back reviewing Batman and yes, it's because Eric had enough.  We do shift through books every now and again to make sure things stay fresh, so I hope that's what happens here.  Now, it is an odd issue for me to jump into with all the spoilers about this issue and what it means to my favorite character, Nightwing.  I promise not to spoil it any more than what already has been released and with that, let's get on with the review...


The issue opens in the Gotham airport where we see KGBeast getting his passport stamped and sent on his way.  I say it's the KGBeast because of a few tells, but Tom King in no way sets up his villain here or really, any other time in this issue.  It is the usual fill in the blanks sort of thing and I am not saying he needs to hold the reader's hand every step of the way, but this loose storytelling is starting to wear thin for me, but more on that later.
We then head off to see Batman and Robin Nightwing in Tony Daniel awesome full page glory before kicking back to KGBeast checking into his hotel room.  Why go back like this?  I want more Bat and Dick and thankfully, we get it going forward.



If you have been down on the miserable Batman of late (remember, smiles kill Batman), seeing him and Dick fight off the mummy army of the Phantom Pharaoh may be just what the doctor ordered!  It's Batman '66 fun and I always love that, but someone needs to remind Tom King this isn't '66 and the sidekick here isn't Robin.  It certainly doesn't feel like Nightwing, though, as King writes Dick as if he is 14 years old and about to say "Holy" something at any point. 
I know that some will eat this up and it is fan service, it's just not what I need right now in this overall story.  We got this sort of thing last issue and that was enough so why continue the goofiness here?  Before you answer, I know it's all set up for the inevitable ending, but why not have the two discuss the recent trial?  What Dick did as Batman during the trial?  Or anything at all meaningful????  Instead of some real character moments, we have Tom King dip into his bag of tricks to tell puns and sing songs.  Again, fan service moments that may make you smile for a little, but have nothing to do with setting up a story.  While this is going on, we see KGBeast buy a rifle and sit in a hot dog restaurant (?) while crowd chatter allows King to poke fun at himself, but little more. 



Continuing on, we get more Dynamic Duo back and forth that made me wish Dick would put a sock in it at times and KGBeast setting up his shot.  Again, whenever KGBeast is on the page we get extraneous overheard dialogue as if Tom King is really afraid of uncomfortable silences.
The issue comes to a head at the end when Gordon lights up the Batsignal and Batman and Dick head off to see what's what.  I guess there were no lasting ramifications to Batman completely messing up the whole Freeze trial and while that's upsetting enough, the chance that it will never be discussed again really gets me angry.  That is still up in the air, though, but what isn't is the ending here that once again laughs at the idea that DC cares about hope, love, and legacy over pain, agony and shock and awe.
Reading through this, you must think I hated every bit of this issue.  That isn't the case.  I loved the art and a lot of the writing would be fine...if it came at a point in this series where I am starved for some story.  Tom King has set up interesting things in his run and they seem to be an opportunity for some really great character moments and development, but instead of that, he writes situations based on shock value, wow moments and fan service.  He had an opportunity to show some people their first look at KGBeast and instead of any sort of characterization, he seems to walk through the issue as a prop who is only here for the big moment at the end.  Why even have KGBeast?  I have never fired a gun, but make me the villain here and nothing changes except possibly an epic fail at the end.  I would even do my classic Dolph Lundgren impersonation to keep the feel going.
Also, in a run where we have gotten so little Bat Family interaction, why waste this issue with songs and puns?  I get it, King wants to make you love the Dick before tearing him down, but most people, Dan Didio aside, already love Dick Grayson.  Plus, didn't we spend last issue doing the same thing?  The whole issue is based solely on that big moment and without that, there just isn't much of a story.  Just another wow moment in a sea of wow moments.  Again, I did not hate this issue, I just felt like there was so much opportunity left on the table.
Bits and Pieces:
Tom King continues his run with an issue that is full of fan service moments that can be fun but don't lend themselves to telling any type of overall story.  I'm sure that I will be told that it's all part of the 100+ issue plan, but I need more meat and cheese to keep me going now.  It does end in a huge moment, but depending on where you lie on what you are looking for from DC since Rebirth started, you will either love or hate it.  My gut reaction is that I hate it, but I am willing to wait and see if it can lead to more interesting stories down the line.  Besides that, this issue had great art, some fun moments, but an equal amount of frustration and missed opportunities.
5.9/10

7 comments:

Branden Murray said...

Tony Daniels really saves this issue with some pretty pictures. Is Tom King even interested in entertaining any narrative at all or does he just practice his sitcom dialouge now every issue? 45 - 48 more to go .

Leonard said...

This doesn't at all feel like it's about the guy whose name is on the cover of the book. The 9 panel KGBeast pages irritate me. I hate this caricature of sidekick, quip machine Nightwing. I think I'm done with Batman.

Jim Werner said...

it is tough...i really wanted more from KGBeast, but it felt so lazy

Ascendant said...

Firstly, I blame myself.
I got hopeful that Tom King was writing Grayson again, and anyone that read his efforts on the Grayson book, should be able to appreciate why the idea of that would be exciting. But this Grayson has none of the character or wit from that book. This Dick is neither charming, funny, nor capable; but apparently he's easily expendable.

I'm honestly sick of the masochistic Batman worship most of the writers on this book have had; and the complete lack of respect they have for any of Batman's supporting characters.
I think I complained about this years ago too, but, how many time is Dick going to get shot in front of his loved ones, he got a gut shot from a passerby back in the last "Crisis", he got shot in the back of the head by Dr. Hurt at the end of the Bruce Wayne returns Arc, and now this, All just to what? further motivate/torture Bruce? that's garbage writing, and I'm sick of it.

Sorry for the rant, but they keep "Fridging" Dick for Bruce's sake and I think I'm about done.

6/10 For me (mostly because I love Tony Daniel), but I'm obviously bitter
-Ascent

Jim Werner said...

you are right...grayson was great! And, the word is that Dan Didio hates Nightwing because their is nothing to do with him, but they keep using him as a way for Bruce to be upset. The idea of Nightwing is to separate himself.

Ascendant said...

Precisely.
I'm all for Dick showing up to cheer Bruce up , but not with inane banter.
"Hey Bruce, wanna jump off a roof together? come on it'll be fun, cuz we all know how much you like that" WTF?

The whole portrayed relationship here is a step back.
And now, there may not even be a step forward.

He should have told Bruce to "pick up his $hit and hit the road" and arranged the rest of the Bat-fam to cover Gotham while they road-tripped it like the Winchesters on Supernatural.

The idea that there's nothing to do with Nightwing is complete utter manure. I have a list of 5 great stories for a Nightwing book at any given time!! The writers at DC just have no idea what the hell they're doing with him, which comes systemically from having a Batfamily as large as the full DC roster!

Oh and for the record :
1. Nightwing vs. The 99 Fiends aka the Hunt for Hurt
2. Nightwing vs. the Justice League (proving why he's a better leader than the Bat)
3. Nightwing Legendary Fist (too long to explain, but it's gold)
4. Nightwing & (Literally fill in anyone from the DCU, hell even the MCU)
5. Target returns (Revisit joining the Bludhaven Police department and his alternate identity of the Target)

Sorry, I know it;''s a Batman review , but to be fair, Grayson as Batman (again) wouldn't be too shabby either.

Atom from Longbox Junk said...

All I can say is that thank God this title double ships so we can get to that 100th issue faster. And not for nothin' but after getting shot twice in the head, Bruce SHOULD probably suggest a helmet for Dick at the very least. . .