Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Batman: The Bat and the Beast (comics)

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Andy Clarke
Collects: Batman Confidential #31-35

So hey, one time, Batman totally decided it would be a rad idea to go chill in Russia and smack around their mob; unfortunately, this does not involve any communists finding themselves acquainted with Batmans boot, but I guess you can't have everything.

Peter Milligans back in this arc of the gone-too-soon Batman Confidential. Milligan apparently had a respectable run on the Dark Knight in the very early 90's, but I've never read any of it as of yet. It's not collected in trade and for the most part - Dark Knight, Dark City aside - seems like it was completely forgotten over time, especially considering Knightfall is the storyline everyone equates with the early 90's. Regardless of the quality of his work then, he's managed to come back now and pen a solid Batman adventure.

Basically, the Russian mob decides it wants to expand its business and Gotham seems as good a place as any. Batman gets wind of it - because there's nothing that slips by a badass of his caliber - and promptly boots them back out. Once he warns them off, something disturbing is brought to light; the person behind the whole thing has a nuke and if Gotham won't be the city destroyed by it, he'll just detonate it in another city.

Batman, never being one to leave a job half done, immediately leaves for Moscow to settle this matter. This is the meat of the story. Essentially cut off in a very foreign land, he has to start off from scratch. Unlike Gotham - where his name and reputation sends shivers down the spines of the underworld - the criminal element of Russia are not afraid of him. Oh sure, they've heard of him - something very likely, despite the Bat offices insistence in the 90's that word of Batman wouldn't get around as anything but an urban legend - but as far as fear they just see him as a kook in a costume. So if Batman wants to get at the head honcho of the whole thing, he needs to make them afraid, one goon at a time, while avoiding the big nasty beastie looking to protect its master.

Now, I've mentioned in the past that I like it when Batman has an adventure or two in other countries - it's good to get an adventure outside of Gotham once in a while - so right away you can probably guess that the choice of setting won points with me. It's more than just that, though. Milligan writes a very solid adventure in general with a fitting ending. He clearly knows what he's doing; and while we're always keeping an eye out for the next classic, it's never a bad thing to have a book that's just good, solid Batman comics. Especially when they get out of Gotham.

There aren't any real problems with the writing. Milligan writes an enjoyable, somewhat standard Batman adventure in a foreign setting. There aren't any greater meanings to be found here. Milligan does show us Batman essentially starting from scratch in his new setting, however, which isn't something we see too often. Here, he's faced with a different type of criminal; and Milligan shows Batman adapting, as he always does.

Andy Clarke is the artist and his work even helps elevate the book into something really enjoyable. Sometimes it's hard to describe why an artists work is good when there isn't some truly noticable style or choice. Sometimes an artist simply knows how to tell a story through art to the point where you don't even think much about it. I'd say Andy Clarke is one of those artists.

The Score: 7.5 out of 10

This is just good, solid Batman comics with the twist of a foreign setting. I had fun and felt like Milligan did good work, which makes me hope to see his old Batman work hit trade so I can check that out. Sometimes a guy just wants to see Batman kick ass and do his thing in a different country. This story scratches that itch nicely, so if you're down with that, give it a look. Stuff like this is why it's a shame Batman Confidential is ending.

No comments:

Post a Comment