The Batman’s Grave #2 – Warren Ellis, Writer; Bryan Hitch, Artist; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: Warren Ellis is often a challenging writer, with his writing style shifting so drastically from issue to issue that it’s impossible to get a bead on. That’s the case with The Batman’s Grave #1 and #2, where the first was a dense character-driven story grounded in Alfred’s fears for his adopted son and partnered with a complex and mind-bending murder in Gotham.
Then it took a sharp left turn at the end of the issue when a disfigured criminal hiding under the bed leaped out at Batman. The character wasn’t identified then or for most of this issue, which led me to believe it might be Mad Hatter – but it’s actually the Morrison villain Flamingo, who’s been through some bad stuff since we last saw him. The odd thing is, though, this battle lasts for half of The Batman’s Grave #2, mostly silent except for sound effects, as Batman pummels a brain-damaged assassin and eventually falls out of a building before leaving him for the GCPD. The fight scene looks fantastic, but it feels like Batman should have pinned this down earlier.
Ellis’ best strength in this issue is the dialogue, particularly between Batman and Commissioner Gordon and Bruce and Alfred. There’s a sense of wry humor in the scenes with the latter that work really well and make me think Ellis is a pretty great Bat-writer – he just gets to do relatively little of it this issue.
Gordon passes Batman a new case involving a murdered former DA who was corrupt, and the Bat is down the rabbit hole of another murder. It seems like the series is going to be grounded in Alfred’s fears for Bruce and his efforts to make him take it a little easier, but some of the dialogue is a bit wonky. Would Alfred ever really urge Bruce not to take a murder seriously because the victim was corrupt? I like the ideas at play in this series so far, but the execution is highly irregular and it’s not coming together as a cohesive story yet. It’s a stunning showcase for Hitch’s art, but I’m not sure what else it is yet.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.