The Batman’s Grave #6 – Warren Ellis, Writer; Bryan Hitch; Artist; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s bruising Batman adventure hits its halfway mark in The Batman’s Grave #6, with all the strengths and flaws of the series until now. Visually, it’s as impressive as ever. The opening half of the issue is a bruising fight scene as Batman and Gordon try to escape from the chaos in Arkham Asylum where the Scorn Army has placed many agents.
But it’s not just the agents posing as guards who pose a threat – it’s the inmates who get released from the cells, including a particularly deadly bruiser who has a blood grudge against noise and no problem with trying to crush Batman’s skull. There’s some good dialogue in the first half between Batman and Gordon, but it’s basically a no-holds-barred battle until Batman fights his way to the secret chamber where agents of the cult are waiting for them. And just like that, the tone shifts radically again mid-issue with little warning.
After escaping Arkham, word gets out to Batman that one of the inmates – the heart-eating Cornelius Stirk – has escaped too and one of Gotham’s most prominent citizens soon turns up dead. Hitch likes close-quarters Bat-investigations almost as much as he does extended fight scenes, and the last one is a dense and cleverly plotted look at the minute details of the room. But it’s also rather dry, and feels like a scene we’ve seen before. The only thing that really gives Batman’s Grave #6 any levity is Alfred’s characterization, once again.
While he’s always pretty snarky, this issue adds some darker elements to his story. He’s a man who has worked in some pretty high-stakes situations even before he worked for the Waynes, and he tells a story this issue that would be pretty harrowing if it wasn’t for his trademark British humor. There’s a lot of good elements in this book, but they’re not quite coming together as a whole so far.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.