Batman #632 Review

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Orpheus Underground

Written by: Bill Willingham
Pencilled by: Kinsun
Inked by: Aaron Sowd
Colored by: Tony Avina
Lettered by: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Bob Schreck
Publisher: DC Comics

You know the plot by now. Spoiler initiated a gang war using Batman’s plans, but it spun out of control. Orpheus was Batman’s man inside the gang who would give the Bat family the edge and the ability to quell the violence. Black Mask was revealed as the big baddie of the crossover and killed Orpheus. Then he tortured Spoiler…a lot…with both his dialogue and what appeared to be a bone saw. She told him that Orpheus was the lynchpin of the whole plan and he, just like any good psychotic would, decided to assume Orpheus’s identity. Also, the lights are out. That is a decent amount of plot for, let’s say, 6 issues. Right now we are at 17. Just letting you know.

Willingham, who penned Robin 2 weeks ago, is striking out all over the place this month. I still cannot get over that this is the same guy that writes Fables or wrote last month’s issue of Robin. His dialogue is just atrocious. The central conceit of the entire issue is hinged on Black Mask being able to become Orpheus while leaving no one the wiser. Then why does he talk exactly like Black Mask and nothing like Orpheus. Is Batman really not picking up on that one? Is this the same Zeiss that Brubaker created? Because it does not look or sound anything like him.

I could go on, but it would hardly be constructive. Instead, let me just point out how this issue (and crossover) has dropped the ball.

  1. We’ve regressed Batman back to his No Man’s Land I need no one attitude. After Rucka and Brubaker worked so hard to get him to acknowledge that he fights a war but he need not fight it alone, this crossover has stripped it all away. His “scolding” of Barbara this issue was particularly odious.
  2. The loss of faith in Batman by the police department and the city (as exemplified by the reporter). This nonsense did not work in Batman Returns, why revisit it here?
  3. Too loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. No Man’s Land was twice as long but only seemed half as long in comparison to this one. We can see where it is going, why not get there?

If you aren’t picking up this crossover, please don’t start now. If you are, by all means, feel free to drop it.