Batman vs. Ra’s Al Ghul #1 – Neal Adams, Writer/Artist
Ray – 5/10
Ray: Much like the Lobdell-verse, there’s also a Neal Adams-verse – over the last ten years, DC has let legendary Batman artist Neal Adams have his own miniseries where he can do anything he wants. And oh, boy has he done anything he wants. Between the two-part Batman: Odyssey and the sequel focusing on Deadman, these comics have been some of the most bizarre books DC has ever put out.
Between Adams’ hilariously overwrought dialogue (with lines like “I hate hate hate the breath in your mouth!”) and original characters like the Sensei, Ra’s Al Ghul’s ancient and evil father, they’ve been less a coherent story and more a bizarre curiosity carried by Adams’ kinetic art. And that’s without even getting into the Hollow Earth stuff.
Still, Batman vs. Ra’s Al Ghul #1, the first issue of the new miniseries, has its bizarre charm, as it teams Batman and Deadman against a seemingly reformed Ra’s Al Ghul and an army of rioters tearing Gotham apart. Plus a killer robot because why not?
The comic plays fast and loose with continuity, as it references both No Man’s Land and has Nightwing and two Robins appear without identifying them. It takes place amid a power crisis in Gotham that’s caused mass riots – spearheaded by the mysterious remote-controlled evil robot Khaos.
Batman is barely able to keep the riots at bay, so Ra’s Al Ghul shows up in a business suit and offers the help of his guard. Gordon accepts, and Ra’s is able to portray himself as the rational one to Batman’s loose cannon – a not-ridiculous assertion, given how Batman tends to react with yelling and threats here.
The best part of this issue involves Deadman constantly leaping from body to body, eventually finding a clever way to neutralize the main villain even though it’s a robot with no mind to take over. The “impostor Bruce Wayne” story at the end doubtless has an odd resolution, and is likely to be reminiscent of the recent “fake Clark Kent” story in the Super-books.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.