The “Knightmares” arc has all led to this–a chase through Gotham between Batman and his mysterious arch nemesis. On the plus side, Lee Weeks and Jorge Fornes are back on the art. On the negative…I wouldn’t recommend buying this issue (which I’ll explain momentarily).
When reading Tom King, I’m often reminded of an episode of Off Panel (a fantastic podcast) where David Harper was interviewing Matt Fraction. Fraction expressed concerns about giving the audience their money’s worth for every issue of Sex Criminals. If a particular issue struck Matt as not having enough content, he’d ask Chip Zdarsky (the artist on Sex Criminals) if they could add more. Now that’s artistic integrity.
In contrast, Tom King gives us another issue that doesn’t have enough story to fill a toddler’s toy tea cup. “But Alex,” I can hear you Batman fans saying. “It’s a chase issue! The story isn’t as important!” And you’re not wrong. #67 is banking on you being entertained by the chase. The problem is that the chase isn’t terribly well executed. It’s not incompetent, but it’s nothing special. It’s fairly mundane — perhaps that’s also the point, but it’s not suspenseful enough to take up an entire 20 pages and $4.
I adore Lee Weeks and Jorge Fornes’s art, but I can’t help but feel their greatest strengths aren’t being utilized. Weeks was instrumental in making “Cold Days” a modern classic with his noir-inspired touches and range. Jorge Fornes’s Mazzucchelli’s riffs are usually stunning. But here the duo is forced to execute a nuts-and-bolts chase where even the Gotham surroundings are just a means to an end.
It’s not all a loss, however. There’s a final twist on the last pages that makes this sort-of worth it. Thematically, it points to the idea that Batman is a detective–always trying to figure out the craziest aspects of the world–but sometimes it can’t be pinned down so easily.
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