Batman: Black and White #3 – John Ridley, Bilquis Evely, Bengal, Tim Seeley, Nick Dragotta, Writers; Oliver Coipel, Bilquis Evely, Bengal, Kelley Jones, Nick Dragotta, Artists
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Another top-tier collection of black-and-white stories from comic book talent this month, so how does it stack up to last month’s outing? We start with a tale from John Ridley and Oliver Coipel—and it’s a Jace Fox story. Set in the future after his Future State mini, it features him taking on that grand tradition of Bats—getting a partner. He and a teenage Tiff Fox are in the Bat-business together, with her being maybe a bit more ruthless than he is. They go up against a gang of racist ex-Penguin goons, kick some butt, and have great sibling banter. It’s a quick story, but a lot of fun and gives us a lot of insight into these new crimefighters.
Next up is a Bilquis Evely solo story, as she takes us deep into an alternate fantasy version of the battle between Batman and Ivy. Casting Batman as a warrior knight and Ivy as a cursed sorceress with plant abilities, the real highlight here is Evely’s stunning and incredibly detailed art. The story is more of a stream-of-consciousness thing as we see the strange situation unfolding through Ivy’s art, but the visuals are so stunning it’s impossible to be distracted. Evely is quickly becoming one of the best in the business for fantasy visuals.
Bengal’s solo story is up next, and it’s a simple and engaging one. Using a lot more light than many of these stories do, it follows Batman through a simple night of patrol as he takes down one criminal after another while reflecting on what his father did for Gotham. There are some great action scenes, but it sometimes seems like a scene we’ve seen before a few times—until a great last-page swerve that changes the way we see the issue and sends a great message about Batman’s true, long-lasting impact.
Tim Seeley and the legendary Batman artist Kelley Jones—who has been drawing Gotham for the better part of three decades—take their turn with a dark and twisty story that pits Batman against Zatanna, Etrigan, and a few original faces. The supernatural scene is well-suited for Jones, who also draws a great Bat, but to say too much about what’s going on in this issue would spoil its emotional impact. Suffice it to say it packs a serious emotional punch and proves once again that Seeley is the most underrated Bat-verse writer out there.
Finally, it’s Nick Dragotta on the last story as the artist delivers another visual stunner. This is a mostly silent story set in the far future, with a Batman mech doing battle against a variety of mutant horrors. But those aren’t the only monsters and dangers lurking in this world. This is a fast read, engaging to view but a little confusing when it comes to the ending. Similar to Dustin Weaver’s stunning installment the last issue, it’s best appreciated as a weird sideways adventure by one of the best artists in the business instead of a typical narrative. All around, another excellent issue.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.