By Koppy McFad
May 3, 2008 - 02:04
DC Comics tapped a major manga talent to do this book and even printed it in the style of Japanese "manga" comics which means you read it backwards, almost as if it was a translated manga comic from Japan.
The plot involves a mystery killer who slices off people's faces and his connection with an ancient Japanese mask that has come to Gotham. This may all be linked to the training that Bruce Wayne underwent in Japan-- but we only get glimpses of that in this issue.
The art style is certainly unique. The depiction of Batman hews closely to the standard but has its own special touches, particularly in the mask which looks a bit like a helmet. The art of Batman in action does capture the mystery and darkness of the character. Bruce Wayne however looks like a teenager as the artist makes him just another manga-anime pretty boy.
Despite the unique art, the story feels a bit dated. The slow pace and long, silent pauses may have been unique a few years ago but now, they just seem like another piece of decompressed storytelling. The plot is also nothing new. We have seen ancient masks driving people wild in Batman stories before. We have also seen many (maybe too many) stories dealing with Bruce Wayne's training to become Batman. Hopefully, future issues of this miniseries will present something to really be excited about but right now, this could just be another issue of BATMAN or DETECTIVE COMICS, just with a guest artist. And its not even in color!!!
This gets a disappointing two stars out of five.