Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Mane Event - Batman: Knight of Vengeance

If you have not yet read Flashpoint #1 please be aware that this review will touch on elements and changes that may be considered a spoiler.

Without a doubt, Flashpoint has overnight changed the face of the DC Universe. Its reach has already been seen and has some very interesting new twists. Batman: Knight of Vengeance is certainly no different.

The story, written by Brian Azzarello, opens with a cold and bitter Wayne under scrutiny for his health insurance. This is quite an ironic thing considering his alter ego. He is more concerned with continuously providing a strong image, being right and his business empire built on hotels and gambling. So the heart and soul that drove Bruce on has gone, but then this is not the same man. Due to the machinations of the Reverse-Flash, this is Dr Thomas Wayne.

During the story we see a change in approach, not only from Batman but also the former GCPD as well. As I said in my review of Flashpoint, there are people within the DCU that will have changed (or not) as a ripple effect. Harvey Dent is now a prime example of this, as he is not displaying his well-known persona.
Half of this issue is written well and conveys a lot of pent up aggression and frustration through the story. Not to say that Azzarello has collaborated with someone else, but there is a large portion, where Batman goes hunting, which relies solely on the artwork and a small splattering of words to convey everything else. This is inherently its weakness as well though.

On first glance Risso’s artwork came across to me as similar to styles I have preferred (usually on the Marvel payroll) but on closer look inspection I am let down. You have a story that has emotion almost oozing out of each bubble of speech but the intensity simply hasn’t been matched by the artwork. The feeling of the approach taken here is minimalist with very little detail being used anywhere except for the sole focus of the frame. Large parts are left empty with simply a wash of colour to fill the void. It just didn’t feel full and in others that there had simply not been enough effort used leaving me let down.

As a slightly odd point as well, for once the lettering stood out to me. Clem Robins seems to love punctuating statements with bold type and on the whole it works well passing on a much more aggressive tone. However, I can’t decide whether this supports Azzarello or goes over the top by using the effect too much. Whichever it was, it caught my eye, so I’m still not sure if that’s good or not.

I’ll be collecting the other 2 issues in this mini-series but that’s purely because it’s Batman and Flashpoint. I can’t see how this is going to develop into a deep enough story in such a small amount of issues. This is more a labour of love for me and sadly an uglier version of one too.

Before anyone asks, no - Matt Puddy has not read 100 Bullets. But yes, he probably should...

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