Batman: Fortress #7 – Gary Whitta, Writer; Darick Robertson, Artist; Diego Rodriguez, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: The penultimate issue of this high-intensity alien-invasion Elseworlds is a bit of a mixed bag, same as the series always was. It sometimes tries a little too hard to be edgy, but mixed in there is some genuinely great DC writing. The issue is sort of a series of vignettes as the heroes and Luthor face one challenge from the fortress after another—starting with Emiko saving Batman from certain death by shooting him with an arrow rope and pulling him up. From there, it’s not long before they’re facing death again—in a chamber filling with water, which they only survive thanks to the surprise reappearance of Jackson Hyde. The explanation for how he gets free is a little perfunctory and it also leads to some cringe-worthy dialogue that feels more like teenagers bickering on Twitter than it does like a group of world-savers infiltrating the Fortress of Solitude. But fortunately, the best segment of the issue is just around the corner.
A twisted hall of mirrors leading to the Phantom Zone is the most ingenious trap yet, but the addition of a surprise guest star takes it into delightful territory with Batman displaying a surprising skill. With a little help, they get to the inner sanctum of the Fortress—and discover the horrible truth about Superman’s family legacy that’s kicked off this whole plot. This isn’t actually a new twist—Kurt Busiek explored this a while back, but it’s never quite come back to haunt Superman in this way. With only one issue to go and a surprising cliffhanger that sets up the finale, there is still a lot to explore. It’s an odd story, but its Luthor is perfectly manipulative, fuzzy Lantern D’ayl is a breakout character, and this is the best material we’ve gotten out of Emiko Queen in years. I definitely won’t mind seeing Whitta do more DC work down the line, but first he’s got to stick the landing here.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.