The Batman’s Grave #4 – Warren Ellis, Writer; Bryan Hitch, Artist; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: Equal parts conventional Batman adventure and near-inscrutable eccentric look into Batman’s soul, Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s maxiseries is a third of the way in with Batman’s Grave #4 and manages to be always entertaining but rarely feel like a complete story.
Last issue’s deep dive into the mystery of the first two issues has led Batman to the office of Dr. Hellfern, a corrupt physician who likes to experiment on his patient and has created a trio of enhanced supersoldiers – some ideal specimens, some hideously disfigured – to serve as his personal bodyguards. Ellis seems to be writing this directly for Hitch, because he loves to give him big splash pages that don’t quite advance the story at all.
Batman zooming through the streets of Gotham in the Batmobile looks great in this book, but it’s also empty storytelling that’s just showing us how Batman gets from point A to point B.
Once Batman arrives, it’s time for another extended Ellis/Hitch fight scene, as Batman takes on three goons at once and pushes himself to the limit – and some extreme acts of violence. It looks great, but once Batman gets to Dr. Hellfern himself and can question him, we don’t learn much beyond the name of the villains.
The Scorn Army, a secret new society of vigilantes, seems like another Gotham secret society following in the footsteps of the Court of Owls. The plot isn’t exactly winning me over, but the dialogue – when there is dialogue – is strong. Virtually all the conversation in this series is between Batman and Alfred, making the latter character very much the emotional touchstone of the series. That’s a smart move, as his droll observations and genuine concern for Bruce are exactly how the character should be written. The pacing of this series needs work, but it does get a lot of things right along the way.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.