Batman Allies : Secret Files and Origins 2005 Review

This collection by various writers and artists seeks to show the current state of affairs in the Bat-universe, with Bats only having limited allies, both in costume and the police force.

For the inflated price tag, they sure could have done a hell of a lot better.

Reviewer : Tim Byrne
Story Title : A Friend in Need

Writer : Russell Lissau
Pencils : Brad Walker
Inks : Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors : Giulia Brusco
Letters : Jared K. Fletcher

In the first, and longest story, ‘A Friend In Need’, Batman investigates a crime, and performs the usual ‘dark detective’ duties. However, the conclusion to the initial part of the story is all but trashed in the conclusion, which seems to indicate that the whole point of the narrative was to establish a new ally for Batman in the Gotham police force.

While an important plot point, it seems artificially forced into what otherwise had been an interesting narrative.

The art is functional, although Renee Montoya looks like a twenty-three year old model.

Story Title : Street Crime’

Writer : Will Pfeifer
Art : Ron Randall
Letters : Phil Balsman
Colors : Brad Anderson

This story was, in its way, the biggest disappointment of the lot. What initially seemed like a fascinating Joker story ends with nothing more than a meditation on the fact that Gotham is a hang-out for the weird and wonderful.

Sure it must have been difficult to do much with a four page limit, but a little focus would have helped. The art is just there, although a depiction of Killer Croc makes him look like a green Ben Grimm.

Story Title : Taking Sides’

Writer : Andersen Gabrych
Pencils : Tom Derenick
Inks : Ray Snyder
Colors : Greg Wright
Letters : Jared Fletcher

In perhaps the most interesting story of this collection, the relationship between Robin and Batgirl is explored, with particular emphasis on the part played in both their lives by the death of Spoiler.

The different perspectives of each character of Spoiler’s death is interesting, and the comparative youth of both certainly gives viewpoints with more colour than Batman’s unrelenting bleakness.

Good job all round with interesting art.

The mark below is an average of the following marks for the three stories :

5 + 3 + 7 = 5.