Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Batman Annual #3 Review


Every Time He Calls...

Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: Otto Schmidt and A Larger World's Troy Peteri
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 12, 2018

It's Annual time even though it wasn't an Annuals Week, but we get Tom Taylor on Batman so I am in!  I have been begging for this Tom to be on Batman for a very long time and I will take all I can get.  So, how is this Alfred-centric issue?  Let's find out...



The issue starts with Alfred getting the dreaded call that Thomas and Martha have been shot.  I usually roll my eyes the more and more we get this scene, but seeing it through Alfred's eyes makes it way more fresh than I thought it would.  It also sets up the issue by giving us some honest to goodness character moments between Alfred and Bruce that pays off big time by the end.



Back in the present, Batman is doing kickass Batman stuff while Alfred goes about his mansion duties.  This is where the issue really shines as Taylor shows the reader all the little things that Alfred must do for Bruce...because he is Batman.  Without forcing it, we are shown that Alfred is the glue that holds it all together.

We do get a pretty good Batman story while all this is going on as well.  A new villain, The Drone, has decided to take his personal misery out on Gotham using undetectable drones...get it?!?  While that is going on, Taylor slips in awesome Alfred moments as well.  Chicken soup in a thermos anyone?



The story continues with The Drone tricking Batman into a fight where he is stabbed in the gut before taking the bad guy down.  That's when we get one of my favorite things...Alfred in the cowl!  Usually, this is for laughs, but here it's for ass kicking!  Some lowlifes end up on the business end of some Pennyworth uppercuts and I don't think you can read this part without smiling.

Tom Taylor continues wowing me with some Batmobile triage and then slips in some big feels when Leslie Tompkins gives Alfred a like father like son talk.  The feels continue as Alfred tells Leslie why he does what he does, but it all is just setting the reader up for the ending.

The issue ends with Bruce getting his turn to worry about Alfred, but also an opportunity to show him that he appreciates everything he does.  It is such a nice moment that isn't forced at all and involves a present that is so simple, but so big in its own way.



I loved this issue.  Yea, it's an Annual with a throwaway villain, but it also has more feels and humanity in thirty some pages than the entire regular run that is often praised for such a thing.  Everything is set up and earned which goes a long way when it comes to pulling at this guy's heartstrings.  Well done Tom, I hope we see you more often!

I liked the art by Otto Schmidt in this issue, though I think the darker scenes played out better.  Thankfully that's the majority of the issue.  The story is the MVP here, but Schmidt doesn't get in the way of anything and makes the machine run smoothly.

Bits and Pieces:

This is one of my favorite issue of Batman in a long, long time.  I am a huge Tom Taylor fan and he never fails to get me teary-eyed when he wants to and it seems like he wanted some waterworks this week.  If you bailed from the Batman book after the non-wedding, do yourself a favor and come back for this issue.  You can thank me later.

9.4/10

3 comments:

Carlos said...

this issue was fucking magnificent.

Anonymous said...

Obviously it wasn't Tom King. The critics who sweet-talk people into thinking King is a prodigy must be more depressed than King is to praise him. People today just can't make out right from wrong.

DancingMike said...

I'll have to pick this up after seeing your score. Didn't read the review (Spoilers, man!). Thanks, Jim! Keep doing what you're doing...