Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Batman Annual #4 Review and *SPOILERS*

Why Would Anyone Live Here?



Written By: Tom King
Art By: Jorge Fornes, Mike Norton, Dave Stewart
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 30, 2019

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

We get a small break from our regular Batman series this week with an annual instead. Frankly, we needed it badly. Even I am struggling with the main series at this point but we get a small reprieve as Tom King gives us an annual. This can go one of two ways. Either, it will feel like another meaningless slog to get through that has no bearing on the DC universe or it might turn out to be super great and we will be talking about why the rest of the book can’t be like it. Either way, this should be an interesting read. Let’s just jump into this issue and see where it takes us.


As the cover of the book tells us, this issue is a bunch of entries from Alfred’s diary about the events that Bruce deals with as Batman over the course of a month. The first deals with the robbery of a Gotham Bank in which the robbers used horses to jump from roof to roof in order to get away from the police. However, Batman is able to take one out and use his horse to pursue them. This reminds Alfred of a time when Bruce was young. He loved stories about horses but when he first met one, he seemed terrified of it. However, he was brave and faced the horse. In the next day, we see a dragon released upon Gotham and Batman must use an ancient sword to slay the dragon. As he slays each dragon, it births another smaller dragon and Bruce fights each of them. When asked if he might get help from him more magically inclined peers, he refuses, saying that they would be here if they were needed.


In the next scene we see Batman fighting in an MMA ring. Alfred tells the story about how the fighter had been wanting to fight Batman for a long time but Batman always refused. Then, he was revealed to have beaten his girlfriend and faced no punishment so Batman finally took his offer, for charity. He used the opportunity to teach the fighter a lesson. The next entry is about a murder mystery. Alfred gives us enough background to quickly learn the characters before revealing that Batman discovered that it was the son that was responsible because his father was going to write him out of the will. The next scene switches between Bruce at prom with his date and meeting her years later. Alfred talks about how prom was the last night that Bruce was really a kid because after that he left and began his training. Next we see Batman sneak on to a subway train and Alfred’s diary tells us that there is a buy for the Gotham missile targeting system going on in it. Bruce incapacitates the seller and then poses as him to capture the buyer. At this time Alfred wonders about how Bruce can be unafraid and he comes to the conclusion that he is actually afraid most of the time but he is able to overcome his terror.

We then get a scene in which Batman faces off with an inter-dimensional being and he tell it that if it wants to harm him, his friends, or his city, he will beat it just like everyone else. The being leaves him be and sends him back home. Over the next few pages we see various scenes of Batman helping people on each day of the month. He beats mummies, fights sharks, helps old ladies across the street and all other types of heroics. As the issue comes to a close we see the name of this annual is entitled Everyday. This is where the issue leaves us.


This may be the most entertaining and fun Batman story that we’ve gotten in YEARS! Does it go a little long? Yes. Does reading a ton of text get a little slow? Yes. However, I think we need to really appreciate this issue for what it is. Frankly, it feels kind of like a tribute to the old batman television show. The art in this issue gives it a little bit of vibe from that era instead of the incredible jacked and outfitted Batman that we know today. We get real stories but also get some that are a little goofy or ridiculous and at other times we get scenes that look as if they would fit perfectly as an episode of the old show. When this issue started I wasn’t into it at all but once we got to the end, I was completely sold and I really enjoyed this.

Bits and Pieces

While the issue starts slow and there is a MOUNTAIN of text for the reader to get through, this has to be one of the most entertaining and fun Batman stories that we’ve gotten in years. It still has that Tom King feel to it but it manages to borrow from the past to really add color and excitement to this annual. I really enjoyed it and I would recommend it highly.

8.0/10

2 comments:

Grant Kitchen said...

This issue does answer one question I've been wondering since Rebirth: are Tim Drake's parents alive? As you know, in The New 52 they were alive but in witness protection but "A Lonely Place of Living" restored his pre-Flashpoint origin which wasn't entirely predicated on his parents being dead, at least not his dad. But this issue reveals that his dad's death (and presumably Identity Crisis) is in continuity again.

Jim Werner said...

I don;t think Tom King even knew that was the case so I wouldn't go with it...but the new Timeline and 5G stuff coming up has Identity Crisis listed as in continuity so even if this doesn't do it, it will be soon.