Reviewer: Tim Sheridan
Story Title: Rules of Engagment
Written by: AJ Liberman
Penciled by: Al Barrionuevo
Inked by: Francis Portella
Colored by: Brad Anderson
Lettered by:Clem Robin
Associate Editor: Nachie Castro
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
So I guess this week I am the unoffical Batman reviewer. And that’s cool. I love Batman. And thus far, I’m diggin this War Games thing. It’s a lot of fun. Is it breaking new ground? No, but it’s still enjoyable. There were three issues out this week that are a part of War Games, and sadly, this was the weakest of the three.
The cover for the issue, a beautiful one by Jae Lee, shows us this one is gonna be all about the bad guys. And it is. We see what a lot of the second string villains are up to during this war game riot. During the opening scene, Hush is visted by a mysterious person who we don’t see, but we can only assume he’s the one who “pulls the strings”. So that peaked my interest. It’s someone in a suit, and I’ll be honest, I just have no clue who it is. Next we see an assembly of Firebug. Killer Croc, and a number of other C-list baddies all surrounding Penguin, which is a very striking image.
What I have to commend about this crossover so far is the fact that the books that take part all seem to still be able to maintain the properties of their respective titles. It has worked well in other books, but for whatever reason, not this one. Gotham Knights has always strived to be about the villains and the bat family of heroes, and not merely about Batman himself, and that’s what we get here. There is some cool interactions between Tarantula and Batgirl, and a short scene with Nightwing. And of course, a lot about the villains. And while that does work in a more character based story, in a plot-oriented crossover like this, you really want to see where things go next, now. This all seemed sort of like “in between scenes” while Batman was out doing the real work, so to speak.
The second half of the issue was a lot stronger than the first, it showed some of the villains like Prometheus cutting loose, and some real interesting plot developments.
The cliffhanger ending was a decent one, but for those not having read Robin for months, I think they will be quite lost.
I wanted this issue to be a little bit better than it was; though in a 25 part crossover, I suppose, you need some more quiet moments.
The Final Word: The bad guys steal the show in a weak installment of War Games.