Earlier this year, I wrote that Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point succeeded thanks to its straightforward premise that “makes it very accessible to readers who may have never played Fortnite for themselves.” Unfortunately, its follow-up, Batman/Fortnite: Foundation #1, does not hit the same marks.
This time around, Scott Snyder joins Zero Point writers Christos Gage and Donald Mustard with art duties taken up by Joshua Hixson and Roman Stevens. You may have seen their work in Batman Secret Files: Peacekeeper-01 #1, a surprisingly good Fear State tie-in thanks to the duo’s Mazzucchelli-esque lines and colors.
This one-shot opens up in Metropolis, where a rift has opened up, darkening the sky and the Justice League is facing off against the Legion of Doom. Batman recognizes the rift, as it’s the same as the one that took him to the Fortnite island in Zero Point. The twist here is that all of the DC super-villains, including The Batman Who Laughs, actually want to go to the island and it’s up to the Justice League to stop them.
Meanwhile, The Foundation (a key player in Fortnite lore) washes up in Gotham Harbor. He’s greeted by Batman and the two fight until they realize they share a mutual enemy, The Imagined Order. (A mysterious cabal who operate in the shadows.) The two team up and attempt to stop the Legion of Doom from entering the rift. On the verge of their success, Batman reveals himself to be The Batman Who Laughs all along. When and how the ol’ switcheroo happened, remains to be seen by me, someone who thought they were paying attention while reading this comic book!
And that’s part of the issue here — even if you do pay attention to all the action happening on the page, you are being bogged down by tons of dialogue and narration about various Fortnite Doohickies, MacGuffins and Proper Nouns that it’s hard to keep track of things. On top of that, if you haven’t kept up with the ongoing (but seemingly over?) DC stories featuring The Batman Who Laughs, things get even more convoluted. Foundation relies heavily on the reader’s familiarity with both DC and Fortnite concepts and characters. And even as someone who reads a lot of comics and plays a lot of Fortnite, it was too much to handle.
The art, on the other hand, is a real highlight. Hixson has the tough job of drawing a huge cast from both universes and makes the crossover look effortless. The Foundation could easily be mistaken for a newcomer in the DC Universe, while the actual DC heroes and villains are treated with reverence. By playing with scale, speed, and varying power levels, Hixson makes fights look and feel weighty. The first page has Superman knocking Bizarro into the air with a two-handed punch. And with the rift as their backdrop, the hit creates a really dynamic image.
Later on, there’s even a great comedic action moment where the Foundation is slowly flying away from Batman, only for Bats to hook his leg as if to pull him down out of the air. When the reader turns the page, it’s revealed that the other end of the wire is attached to a speeding Batmobile, rocket engine blazing behind it. The staging is hilarious too, as the Foundation crashes down into some crates while Batman stands stoically, his cape blowing in the wind created by the Batmobile. Not to mention a beautiful Gotham skyline in the background.
Stevens’ colors enhance the dark mood of these action scenes too. His use of oranges, greens and purples allow for characters to pop off of the dark backdrops of Gotham and Metropolis. However, when we travel to the Fortnite island towards the end of the book, the moody darkness is exchanged for a cartoony, technicolor palette that doesn’t suit the artists’ strengths. Hixson and Stevens excel in Gotham and I hope they can return there soon.
Batman/Fortnite: Foundation is truly only for the most hardcore DC and Fortnite fans, which is a disappointment because its predecessor was excellent for more casual readers. Maybe folks will pick this up because it comes with a code for an in-game Batman Who Laughs outfit. Hopefully, they’ll be pleasantly surprised with the moody and dynamic action presented on the page.
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