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'Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth' #1 review
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‘Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth’ #1 review

‘The Gotham War’ comes to a conclusion, but who will live and die?

DC Comics’ “Gotham War” crossover ends today, and it’s up to Catwoman, Batman, and the Bat Family to overcome their impasses and stop Vandal Savage from destroying Gotham. They’ve been fighting each other while a threat built up a literal army, but how do you forgive Batman for what he’s already done? Tini Howard and Chip Zdarsky wrap things up while laying the groundwork for massive changes.

As far as finales go, Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth delivers in a few ways, like bringing a big battle to the forefront and delivering some life-changing moments for a few characters. The stakes feel relatively large, considering Batman has lost the trust of his family, but right till the end, it’s clear he hasn’t lost Catwoman. Maybe Batman doing some immoral things and beating up Nightwing isn’t such a bad look in the eyes of Catwoman.

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The issue opens with Vandal reminding readers what he’s promised his army–eternal life–and then showing us Tim Drake is on the front line against said army. That army comprises many of Batman’s greatest rogues, including Two-Face, Black Mask, Scarecrow, and the Ventriloquist.

Unfortunately, the goal of this army isn’t very clear or interesting. Ultimately, they are a distraction, as we learn, making their portion of the story a mindless action sequence. Mike Hawthorne draws many of these scenes, giving Batgirl, Nightwing, and Robin plenty to punch. The fights are chaotic as they should be, although I never questioned if anyone was really in danger.

Meanwhile, Batman is hunting for where Vandal is and what he’s really up to. His portion of the story is all about figuring out what Vandal is really up to, which is led by some nice detective work. It’s fun to see him piece things together, albeit in a quieter setting than the battle in Gotham.

'Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth' #1 review

Batman has done a real number on Jason.
Credit: DC Comics

It’s unfortunate his treatment of Jason Todd is brushed under the rug due to the urgency of Vandal’s threat to Gotham. One of the more intriguing turns was his treatment of Jason, which is downright sadistic, yet that seems to be over and done with here. Speaking of brushing things aside for later, Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is also brought up, but again, characters hand wave it for another day. Given these elements are some of the most interesting of the crossover, it’s a downer not to see them explored even a little.

Something else that doesn’t work is the big climax revolves around a threat that’s pretty much impossible to stop. I won’t spoil it as it’s a big reveal, but the way in which the heroes attempt to thwart it is kind of laughable. It’s also beyond these street-level characters’ abilities. It culminates in two key characters getting a potential huge ability shift going forward. They may even be dead, which offers some payoff for a big crossover like this.

As far as endings, characters feel changed, at least for a while, which is exciting in legacy storytelling. Three nuggets of story will play out in future tales. Overall, though, this finale feels bloated with action and lacks the character exploration in previous chapters that has been so exciting.

'Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth' #1 review
‘Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth’ #1 review
Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth #1
As far as endings, characters feel changed, at least for a while, which is exciting in legacy storytelling. Three nuggets of story will play out in future tales. Overall, though, this finale feels bloated with action and lacks the character exploration in previous chapters that has been so exciting.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Delivers as far as setting up big changes for characters and future stories
Hawthorne's action looks great
Hand waves some rather big and interesting elements for later
Action scenes lack stakes and feel overly long
6
Average
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