Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Batman vs. Ra's Al Ghul #5 Review


Go for the Gold

Writer: Neal Adams
Artist: Neal Adams
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 16, 2021

I know that Reggie is laughing at me right now.  If you don't know who Reggie is, then you are an unlucky person, but Reggie was a friend of just about everyone he met and a part of our podcast and website.  Most importantly, he was our brother.  Neal Adams' books were me and Reggie's special bond.  Eric wanted no parts of them, so it was always our job to cover them.  Even when I begged him to skip them, Reggie would do the written reviews and then force me to record for the podcast.  The thing is, he did it to drive me nuts!  Some of the best times I had on our podcast were losing my mind over a Neal Adams book and just listening to Reggie laugh his ass off over my insanity.  It would start early in the week with us DMing pics from the issue while we laughed and tried to figure it all out.  We rarely succeeded, and I would get angrier and angrier as the week went on.  I miss those times so much, but not as much as I miss Reggie.  It doesn't feel right doing this review without him, but I know he would have demanded it... again, to drive me nuts!  Believe me, Reggie, this one is a doozy, and this review is for you...

It's been so long since the last issue of Batman vs. Ra's Al Ghul came out, so I will forgive you for not remembering everything that was going on.  However, I'll give you a shiny nickel if you could explain it coherently.  Still, readers will be right at home as the issue opens and everyone starts screaming at each other!  Nobody talks in a Neal Adams book!  First off, it's Deadman and Etrigan yelling back and forth about Boston's brother Aaron and what's going on with Ra's al Ghul.  A couple of threats and a cowering Etrigan later, we head off to more nonsense.

We head off to see the Court of Owls with laser pointers, learn that Marvin didn't kill Ra's al Ghul because he was a robot, then find out it's not the Court of Owls, but a group called "The Money" who are the ones putting together the "Batman Olympics" because you can't just buy a Batman.  If anything you just read made a lick of sense, seek professional help immediately!

So, it's off to the Batman Olympics, where a new entrant has shown up.  It's Matches Malone, and after knocking out two of the contestants like a cape a cowl Spock, he lights up a cigarette like a badass and talks trash... and then more trash.

I guess we continue with the games, and nothing makes much sense.  The two Batmen and Matches Malone are trying to get to a building when they a Helicopter shoots slime (?) at them, so they team-up and shot slime (?) back and then use jetpacks (even though they are on hang gliders the whole time) to reach their destination.

We then go off to see Deadman trying to figure out why Batman doesn't remember Japan. After a lot of finger-pointing and more confusion than answers, Boston figures out the Batman at Wayne Manor is an imposter, so it's off to fight Dollman!  It makes a little bit more sense than it seems, but the dialogue is a back-and-forth hodgepodge of meaningless drivel.

Back to the Bat Olympics, Bastion, one of the would-be Batmen, is just doing too damn good. Marvin suspects that like Ra's earlier, he's a robot, which is our cue to go see Dollman being interrogated by Nightwing and Robin about making robots.  It seems Bastion isn't a robot, after all, so Marving and Matches check out his equipment.  That's when they find out that Bastion has been cheating the whole time.  I'd put an exclamation point at the end of THAT sentence if I cared about anything happening in this book!

The issue ends with "The Money" picking Bastion as Batman and saying Marvin and Matches must die.  Until Matches convinces them that Bastion is the real Batman, and they hire Marvin and Matches to be Batmen and... I can't take this.  We also get Nightwing telling Damian he's "damaged goods" for the hell of it, which made me laugh, but not as much as the cliffhanger with Ra's saying that all of this convoluted mess of a story is all going according to plan!  I hope you're happy, Reggie!  I miss you, brother.

Bits and Pieces:

I will always love Neal Adams' art.  It is dated, but in a good way because it has such a great and unique sense of energy to it all.  Anything Neal Adams draws, I will buy... unless he is also writing it.  Please, use the pencils for drawing, not for writing from now on.


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