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Batman #625

March 30, 2004

Quick Rating: Below Average
Title: Broken City Part Six

Azzarello and Risso leave Batman with a cap to the mystery of Angel Lupo.

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso
Colors: Patricia Mulvihill
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Will Dennis and Bob Schreck
Cover Art: Eduardo Risso
Publisher: DC Comics

And the “Broken City” arc comes to its conclusion, with some fans sorry to see it end and others, myself included, relieved that another creative team will be taking over this title with the next issue. I’m sorry, folks, but “Broken City” just didn’t deliver for me. This issue gives us a clichéd cap to a clichéd “hardboiled” mystery, an inexplicable appearance by the Joker (this isn’t a spoiler, he’s right there on the cover) and an overwhelming feeling that I’m just glad its done.

Aside from the fact that the mystery of the arc never really grabbed me, the sudden inclusion of the Joker feels entirely superfluous, as though he’s only there so that Azzarello can say he wrote a Joker story. Plus, with him running around on the loose over in Batman: Gotham Knights but laced up in Arkham here, it’s no wonder some fans feel intimidated by so many bat-books. I don’t mean we should necessarily keep a chart somewhere showing where villains are at all times, but especially in the Batman books I don’t feel like there’s any effort at reason with them at all anymore – a villain is incarcerated when the writer needs him to be and on the loose when he needs him to be, rarely if ever showing him escape and rarely if ever showing him actually getting captured. There’s no sense there.

Risso for all the skill he’s shown in 100 Bullets, sacrifices more and more of his style to a Frank Miller pastiche in this issue. From body type to facial structure to the weird “chapped lips” look Batman has in come panels, it’s like looking at something Miller drew 20 years ago instead of something Risso drew in the here and now.

I’m sorry to the fans who enjoyed this run, but I simply don’t see what the appeal was. “Broken City” never felt fresh or original to me, it felt like a halfhearted attempt to pay homage to the Miller days and never quite lived up to it.

But at least we’ve probably seen the last of the Killer Croc’s ‘fro.

Rating: 4/10

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