Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Batman: Secret Files #3 Review

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

Writer: James Tynion IV, Vita Ayala, Mariko Tamaki, Dan Watters, Philip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Sumit Kumar, Andie Tong, Riley Rossmo, John Paul Leon, Victor Ibanez
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: June 10, 2020

These Secret Files books always strike me as a way to slip in an extra Batman Annual every so often, and since Batman sells, I can't blame DC for doing it. Plus, it's usually a chance for some different writers to get a crack at Batman. So, how is this issue of Secret Files? Let's find out...

There are five stories here and while I am not sure why all of them are "secret", we will go through them individually and then give a total score at the bottom. 

Don't Hold Your Breath

Written by: Vita Ayala
Art by: Andie Tong, Alejandro Sanchez, and Rob Leigh

Vita Ayala gives readers a Cheshire story that is middle of the road fare. The problem is that it's nothing Bat-fans haven't seen a hundred times before and relies too heavily on the Star Wars, "don't give in to the Dark Side" cliche. It goes on way too long, especially since we kind of know that Cheshire isn't going to change her ways. Andi Tong's art is good, but the whole thing is just forgettable.



Written by: Philip Kennedy Johnson
Art by: Victor Ibanez, Jordie Bellaire, and Troy Peteri

Batman and Green Arrow team-up to go after Merlin in a fun, quick story, that is still dark enough to fit Gotham and Batman. While I think Johnson would be good on a Batman book, I want him on Green Arrow when and if we get his solo book again. As Oliver warns Batman about Merlin, they can't help fall into his trap because of what's at stake. Without barely seeing Merlin, Johnson sets him up as a credible threat, and Batman is a badass throughout. Plus, we get a mention of the Punching Glove Arrow, and I didn't even roll my eyes! Victor Ibanez's art was good, though I wasn't thrilled with Jordie Bellaire's colors, which I thought were a bit too dark at times. Overall, this was one of my favorites of the issue.



Written by: Mariko Tamaki
Art by: Riley Rossmo, Ivan Placencia, and Tom Napolitano

Mr. Teeth is in town with a few days to kill in this Mariko Tamaki story that wasn't much of a story that just took up space. Riley Rossmo's art made a simple chase-and-fight into something unnecessarily complicated and overall, there was nothing here to sink your (Mr.) Teeth into. Easily my least favorite of the bunch.


Afraid of America

Written by: Dan Watters
Art by: John Paul Leon and Deron Bennett

Dan Watters has his sites on Gunsmith in an issue about guns and gun laws and the people who use guns and... I was just bored reading it. To get his point across, Watters has Batman lay on the yakity-yak, and the problem is, everyone talks back, which only extends things. I love John Paul Leon's art and will take it anywhere I can get it, but this story wasn't as smart as Watters seemed to intend it to be and ended up being boring. I do want to know how Gunsmith was able to drink through his mask so I can do that with my coffee.


Did DC Comics Spoil the Designer's Identity???

Fool's Gold

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Sumit Kumar, FCO Plascencia, and Carlos M. Mangual

James Tynion gives us (another) sneak peek at what's coming up in the Joker War by getting Deathstroke on board the Joker Trolley. I liked the dialogue between Joker and Slade, and by the end, we find out what the Joker's endgame might be, and it makes sense for Slade to want in on it. We get Batman and Deathstroke duking it out, which I always love, but that seemed forced in only because this is BATMAN's Secret Files, which leads me to my biggest problem here... How does Batman know all of what's going on? I get that DC and Tynion are putting a lot of eggs in the Joker War basket, but this doesn't fit the real estate of this issue. I'm not going to nitpick too much, though, since it was one of the strongest stories in the issue with some good art to boot.


Bits and Pieces:

I think this is the weakest of the Secret Files issues so far. There are a couple of good stories and a Joker War prelude, but most of them were forgettable. The art was good for the most part, but for $4.99, there are better ways to get your Batman than this.


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