Batman: The Dark Knight #2
Writer-artist David Finch
This is what I waited for? Really? It’s been almost three months since the first issue, and this is what we get? Batman being threatened by guns and then breaking the Penguins arms and legs over a kidnapping victim we’ve still yet to actually meet? That’s my first impression, Batman goes ahead and starts snapping the Penguin’s arms and legs for interrogation. Now, I’m not saying Bats is one to shy away from creative interrogations, but to just up and get overly violent?
When I reviewed the last issue I pointed out that for as great as David Finch’s art is for Batman, and how his style is perfect for the character, but as a writer he’s still untested. Last issue began to present us with a mystery, as well as the promise that Finch had a good mind for the voice of Bruce Wayne, while unfortunately this issue keeps losing itself. Honestly? Batman taking out a bunch of goons was fine, and so was his time with Penguin before he goes bone breaker on him. The book just starts to fall apart with the first snapping limb, and it doesn’t really stop.
I can get past the fact that Batman is going full on crazy over a girl created for this arc, that she’s seemingly important enough to draw Bruce into a fight with his own Rogue’s gallery, but not how it happens. I don’t need ultra violent Bruce, or Killer Croc the bodyguard smashing his head through walls. For a moment I was thankful when I turned the page and saw the story shifting elsewhere, but then it quickly faded when it turned into the vignettes from hell. A kid steals the Batmobile? Random acts of Ragman? For no apparent reason, the Demon Etrigan? What do these add? What do these have to do with anything? The same as Bruce realizing his own ultraviolent insanity just in time to not care about it because there’s a shiny gold necklace he forgot about.
The art is far and away the best part of this issue, as David Finch is a natural in Gotham City. Penguin is a bit too disfigured for my tastes, but I’ve also grown fond of his more classic design so seeing him looking more super villain than business owner is a bit grating. I can’t complain about his Batman design though, as Bruce’s new costume has honestly yet to look better than under the pencils of Finch. Etrigan for the panel we see him, despite me not really wanting the character around, does make me want to see Finch use him more. Honestly, the most offputting thing in the entire issue is the redesign that Ragman gets, and yeah, spoiler warning, it looks like Venom in rag form. I can’t really knock on it though, the issue looks great.
After reading the first issue I drew some immediate connections to Hush from a few years ago, when Jim Lee made his big Batman debut and Jeph Loeb wrote up a year long story that let him draw every Bat character known to man. It wasn’t the best Batman story of all time, but it was a fun mystery at the time, and Jim Lee got to blow us all away with his style on Batman. David Finch is a lot like Jim Lee, trying to blow us all away in an arc with as much as he can throw in there, having his own sandbox to draw all these characters that he has been wanting to draw, and who we’ve been wanting to see him draw. The downside is the lack of a voice to sort all of the things he wants to do, and for all the crap I throw at Jeph Loeb’s work, he provided one of those voices for Jim Lee. This book reads a lot like an early Image Comics title, where the artist is telling the story with visuals first and foremost and allowing the writng to suffer for it. This is unfortunate because, well, I want a good story, or at least something I can try and pass off as one. The issue is horribly disorganized, and the writing is definitely to cater to what he wants to draw. This book needs a writer, or for Finch to reel it in a bit.
5/10…..or if you skip the writing 8/10
Tags: Batman, Batman: The Dark Knight, David Finch, Reviews