DC This Week Roundup – Gotham at War

Comic Books DC This Week
Batman and the Joker: The Deadly Duo #2 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #2 – Marc Silvestri, Writer/Artist; Arif Prianto, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Ray: Marc Silvestri’s dark ’90s-inspired thriller turns Batman and Joker into teeth-clenched teammates—as a mysterious villain has captured both Harley Quinn and Jim Gordon hostage, unleashed an army of genetically-engineered monsters, and force Batman and Joker into completing weird tasks together. The first issue had some good humor to it, but this issue is just pitch-black and ultraviolet—with scenes of torture, monsters being torn apart, and the two characters very clearly not being able to stand each other. That makes sense, but it’s also not all that entertaining to watch as a core dynamic. A subplot involving the Gotham Mayoral race and a hard-boiled anti-vigilante candidate with an eyepatch—who isn’t Nanako—doesn’t really go anywhere, although Alfred and Dick Grayson get a few good scenes. The art by Silvestri is strong and gritty, but the story doesn’t live up to it.

Sword of Azrael #5 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Sword of Azrael #5 – Dan Watters, Writer; Nikola Cizmesija, Artist; Marissa Louise, Colorist

Ray – 7.5/10

Ray: Jean-Paul Valley has been put through his paces in this series, going up against a massive hulking beast known as the Satan of St. Dumas, but his biggest challenge may still be ahead—in the form of his twisted frenemy Father Valley, created by Ram V to torment Catwoman. This sadistic killer has links to his father and seems to want to help Jean-Paul become the best Azrael he can be—but Jean-Paul may be pretty far gone himself, thanks to the mental influence of the angels that made him. This series has been strong when it comes to its surreal and creepy visuals, but it’s lacking something in terms of characters to root for. As Jean-Paul goes deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, he starts to feel less like a protagonist and more like a threat himself. And the transformation of Sariel into a horrific armored knight only adds to the bleak feeling as Jean-Paul will be forced to face off against the girl he saved.

Batman: Knightwatch #4 cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Knightwatch #4 – J. Torres, Writer; Marcelo Di Chiara, Artist; Carrie Strachan, Colorist

Ray – 7.5/10

Ray: This all-ages Bat-title has a vague through-line of a social-media enhancement to the Bat-network, but it’s largely just a collection of stories of the family battling against iconic villains. The first issue has Batgirl vs. Killer Moth, before it dovetails into a plot involving an underground fight club and an undercover Black Canary, leading to a fun team-up. The second is much more serious, involving Scarecrow debuting a more dangerous form of fear gas that preys on all of Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin, and Huntress’ deepest fears. There are some surprisingly creepy visuals here, and a decent story of why Batman is able to overcome fear. There is nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but the double-dose of Birds of Prey members this issue is a fun change of pace for the series.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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