Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Batman's Grave #2 Review

Alive & Kicking!

Writer: Warren Ellis
Art Team: Bryan Hitch, Alex Sinclair, Richard Starkings
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 13, 2019

Chapter one of Batman's Grave set up some interesting threads, that while pretty cryptic, was entertaining enough to come back for more to see where it was headed. Chapter two wastes no time this month jumping right back into the initial chapters mystery, then for good measure, adds a few more layers on top of it.  So let's discuss how this mystery stew is brewing, and the highs and lows of the latest effort, from the team of Ellis, Hitch, and Sinclair.

As I already mentioned, our story resumes immediately form the cliffhanger left at the end of issue one, providing the answer to what everyone was wondering, was the man under the floorboards alive or dead? Well, folks, it appears Floorboard-Man is very alive, well, and vigorous as he springs out of the floor to fight Batman, and do so pretty well may I add. From there the characters fighting spans roughly half the issue, and with very little dialogue added in during the fight, this ends up being one of the quicker reads you'll encounter this week.  That can work in a book's favor, or to its determent, here it seems to more a case of the later.

Obviously, Batman eventually (in 13 pages) takes down the suspected murderer, bringing him into police custody, although the officers don't quite seem too pleased with Batman's antics.  Back at the mansion, Alfred waxes poetic about his hangover from downing too much booze, while Bruce complains of similar pains from fighting a man with a bad haircut, a moment is shared, an easy night wished for, and night falls once more. Nothing about this issue so far is 'bad', however, I can't help but feel like Ellis is just stalling to get to the true point of this series, only two issues in. There just isn't much to critique, or even talk about at this point in the issue, and we're now sixteen pages into a twenty-two-page comic book. That is a problem all too common with a lot of the big two books lately and further proof that waiting for the trade here, if you're interested at all, is one hundred percent the way to go with this title.

Later that night Batman meets Gordon on the rooftop of Gotham PD. The two compadres discuss the perp Batman brought in from the previous day, revealed by Gordon to be named Eduardo Flamingo, a.k.a. The Eater of Faces. Gordon reveals some of his strange histories while mainly highlighting he's also wanted in California. With Batman against the death penalty, he'd prefer placement in Arkham for now, but the California connection seems to ring some bells for this duo, as Gordon drops a file for Bobby Turton on Batman's lap.  He asks Batman to look into this murder as well and report back with what he finds, which sends Batman back to the cave with Alfred, as the two look into our next, possibly related in some way, suspect. That's literally about all we get here, with even the cliffhanger failing to hit a cord, that would make me run to the shop to grab issue three next month. This isn't a bad comic book, just not one that has anything to say yet, and with a $4 asking price that just isn't enough.

The art is again pretty great throughout the issue, with the different perspectives and angles that Hitch uses, standing out as the highlight to me personally. The city seems beaming with life, as little details pop out throughout the issue, and the art itself is definitely the sole highlight of the series so far. I just hope the story is up to the task of keeping the pace going forward.

Bits and Pieces:

As a whole, Batman's Grave Chapter Two lacks any sort of hook or intrigue to really grab a reader's attention. There are the beginnings of a deeper mystery at play here, but this issue moved by so fast, with large sections of its text free, it never provides any further insight into anything I found too interesting.  Right now we have a bunch of names that don't mean much, Alfred drinking himself in an early grave, and Batman exchanging blows with random murderers, but why?   Hitch on art is a blast to look at, and if that is why you're here, you may find the book worth a look, otherwise save a few bucks Christmas is coming.


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