Batman vs. Bigby: A Wolf in Gotham #3 – Bill Willingham, Writer; Brian Level, Penciller; Jay Leisten, Inker; Lee Loughridge, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: This strange Fables crossover continues, as Gotham is hit by a wave of terror attacks themed to… books? I’ve been suspecting since the beginning that the mystery villain leading a criminal collective of villains named after authors is actually the Batman ‘66 villain Bookworm, and he’s finally name-dropped by Batman this issue. It’s always fun to see updates on those lighter villains, and while he’s not overly dark, he’s highly competent and seems to be able to out-think Batman in the same way Riddler sometimes does. Batman and Bigby’s confrontation is cut short when they jump into the fray to help civilians, with Bigby evacuating people in wolf form—much to the horror of onlookers—but surprisingly, the attacks largely seem to be for show with minimal casualties and damage to the books. It’s good to have some mystery in a villain’s plot, but this one is actually kind of impenetrable so far.
In the background, there are some weird things that kept this issue from being as compelling as the last two. For one thing, Bruce seems a little more bullheaded than usual. Clearly he’s never been comfortable with supernatural beings and even superheroes in his city. I don’t think he’d be excited to hear a giant wolf is wandering around, but I certainly don’t think he’d be ready to kill it without knowing more about it—especially once he hears reports that it’s talking to people. He doesn’t like magic, but it doesn’t make him lose IQ points. Willingham’s take on the Robins, with the established ones as the leader of what’s essentially a Robin academy, is interesting. It’s especially great not just to see Steph as Robin, but as a mentor figure to younger Robins. But it’s so out of nowhere that it’s hard to say what Willingham is going for. We still don’t know what this odd Gotham actually is, and we didn’t get much progress on that front yet.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.