Home > DC Comics > Batman: Gotham Knights #51

Batman: Gotham Knights #51

March 13, 2004

Quick Rating: Fair
Title: Pushback Book Two

Things are looking worse and worse for the Riddler…

Writer: A.J. Lieberman
Pencils: Al Barrionuevo
Inks: Francis Portela
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Lee Bermejo
Publisher: DC Comics

The Riddler is having a rough time of it lately. While the man named Hush is planning revenge, he pleads with the Joker to get him to safety. Therein lies the major problem with this story arc, actually – A.J. Lieberman’s characterization of the Joker doesn’t really work. He’s too calculating, too… well… sane. While even at his craziest the Joker has a certain maniacal logic to his actions, in this book the mania takes a back seat and he’s behaving almost rationally, and that doesn’t fit the character. Lieberman could have told the same story using, say, the Penguin, and it would have made much more sense.

Batman and Robin take a supporting role in this issue as they look for an explanation to the late Vesper Fairchild’s appearance last issue. The return of the woman Bruce Wayne was accused of murdering is understandably striking for our heroes, but their actions in this issue don’t seem targeted enough. They’re acting without a rudder or a plan, and that’s something Batman never does.

Bermejo, for the most part, does a fine job on the artwork. He has a great car chase scene and a nasty fight scene at the end (“fight” is really too generous a term, it’s essentially a beating). I’m a big fan of his Batman.

I am not, however, that big a fan of his Bruce Wayne. When he takes off the mask, Bermejo’s Bruce appears almost as scarred as the character walking around in bandages, while his Tim Drake has a weird enlarged forehead that doesn’t work for him.

Although Lieberman impressed me with his recent backup story in Detective Comics, his much-vaunted return of Hush in this title hasn’t really grabbed me so far. For the most part, reading Batman: Gotham Knights is, at the moment, an exercise in waiting around for something to happen that really feels like it matters.

Rating: 6/10

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