Batman vs. Ra’s Al Ghul #4 – Neal Adams, Writer/Artist
Ray – 4/10
Ray: Batman Vs. Ra’s Al Ghul #4 is the continuation of a strange series of Batman comics by Neal Adams going back almost a decade, meaning this entire series was guaranteed to be bizarre. But I wasn’t quite prepared for just how bizarre.
Neal Adams writing in the modern era is always a trip, but Batman vs. Ra’s Al Ghul #4 may be the most Neal Adams comic in history. This entire issue is a series of bizarre plot developments that are almost dizzying, starting with Bruce Wayne and Boston Brand finding themselves in a Norse-style hall where two warrior women are fighting over Deadman for some reason.
Keep in mind this issue was seriously delayed, so orienting yourself back into this world is even trickier. Did I mention there’s a witch who is also a cat? There is an extended segment where one of the warriors doesn’t believe that this is Boston Brand and keeps repeating facts about him, until Batman uses his detective skills to blurt out a massive fact with seemingly no context that shocks them both.
From there, it only gets stranger. On Earth, another Bruce Wayne (did I mention Batman has been split into two?) cuts a deal with Ra’s Al Ghul, only for them to be attacked by assassins. And Ra’s is actually a robot. And then another Batman shows up, but it turns out to be an Australian cosplayer there for something called the Batman Olympics.
I don’t know if this is a plot that will be followed up on, but oh god I hope it is. One Batman starts acting irrationally and issuing extreme threats, the other starts randomly growing horns on his head and turning into a demon. Then they fight more demon-gremlins. This is all happening in one issue, and it’s the most hilariously jumbled thing I’ve read in awhile. This isn’t in any way a GOOD comic, but it’s certainly entertaining. At a certain point, you just have to embrace the insanity of this world and go along for the ride.
Corrina’s Quick Note: Back in the 1970s, there was a multi-part story that featured the Underworld Olympics in Gotham, with some memorable art by Ernie Chan. One wonders if Adams is referencing that, in some form.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.