Ray: After all the preamble and suspense, here we are—the big showdown in the Magistrate’s base. Jason Todd has successfully captured Batman, bringing the masked Jace Fox into the den of the enemy—but of course, there’s a plan. As the Peacekeepers jeer and make their plans for revenge, the two vigilantes carefully lure them into a trap and all hell breaks loose. But there’s another wild card in the equation—Warmonger, the ruthless crime lord of New Gotham who intends to plunge the city into a never-ending state of rage. He’s an interesting villain visually, but more of a novelty character than anything. This issue is basically non-stop action, and sets Jason up for an impossible task in the next issue. Overall, an interesting expansion of the Future State mythology, but this story has been a little straightforward without any big twists so far. It’ll be interesting to see what Culver does when he goes solo.
Ray: This all-ages book continues to be one of the most inventive in DC’s stable, but Sholly Fisch may have topped himself with this inventive caper. As Alfred catches up with his old friend, Daphne’s long-suffering butler Jenkins, Ace the Bat-Hound tries to conceal his identity from Scooby-Doo. But while the rest of the Mystery Machine crew and Batman are occupied with a giant cat attacking Gotham (it all makes sense in context), Ace and Scooby fall prey to a nefarious dognapping scheme. With callbacks to some obscure bits of early Batman continuity like Alfred’s detective manual, and a surprise appearance from a popular DC cult villain, it’s one of the best deep-cuts the run has done so far. This issue draws more from the Batman: the Animated Series canon than any other and has a bit more of a fast-paced vibe, while still working perfectly with the series’ light tone.
Ray: There’s an interesting story in here somewhere, focusing on Alfred’s complex life of spycraft coming back to haunt him as an old man. The story is still divided into three main segments, with the brief present-day segments being the most compelling. They have shades of the same Old Man Bond story we’re seeing play out on screen right now. The early days of his life are also intriguing, as we see him start to unravel the lies surround his father and the secrets kept from him. But about 75% of the issue is devoted to the in-between, when Alfred was working as a spy alongside his longtime ally and lover Shirley. This segment is full of tropes and betrayals, and the plot involving giant red supersoldiers who can turn their arms into guns just feels a little too out-there for a relatively down to earth book. The series had a good take on Alfred, but what’s surrounding him doesn’t quite live up to that.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.
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