Batman vs. Bigby: A Wolf in Gotham #5 – Bill Willingham, Writer; Brian Level, Penciller; Jay Leisten, Anthony Fowler Jr, Inkers; Lee Loughridge, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: For most of this series, Batman and Bigby have been sniffing around each other while Bookworm plotted in the background. Now it feels like the creative team went “Wait, we’re almost at the finish line” and kicked everything into high gear. As this issue kicks off, Batman and Bigby finally confront the villain—only for Bookworm to display a shocking amount of strength and dark magic abilities, beating Batman within an inch of his life and driving Bigby to near-insanity. He escapes, having lost most of his minions, and Batman’s Robins are barely able to get him back to the Batcave so Alfred can work his medical magic. It’s an exciting first half of the issue, but no one has any real context for what Bookworm can do—including the readers—making it a very odd way to kick off the final battle. Like the Robins program, it often feels like we’re missing some issues here.
What does work better is the second half of the issue, as Batman drags himself out of bed and begins a search for Bookworm before it’s too late. The best part of this entire series has been when Batman and Bigby are forced to work together through gritted teeth, with Batman still wanting all these magical beings out of his city and Bigby mostly being amused that this random dude dressed like a bat thinks he can give orders. Bookworm, meanwhile, has a big plan for Gotham—but all is not what it seems and the issue ends with a weird and sort of hilarious reveal that calls back to a popular cult film from the last year. With only one issue left, it’s really hard to see how Willingham wraps this up, but then this is only supposed to be the first chapter of some big Fables plans he has coming. If nothing else, at least it shows that he still has a good handle on Bigby Wolf for future projects.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.