Home > DC Comics > Batman #626

Batman #626

April 24, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Visions (As the Crow Flies)

One of the lords of Gotham’s underworld goes nuts – can Batman figure out why?

Writer: Judd Winick
Pencils: Dustin Nguyen
Inks: Richard Friend
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Bob Schreck
Cover Art: Matt Wagner
Publisher: DC Comics

In the interests of full disclosure, I suppose I should mention that I’m predisposed towards enjoying this issue for two reasons – one, I didn’t care for Brian Azzarello’s “Broken City” arc, and two, Judd Winick appears to be using one of my favorite Batman villains in his run. So keep that in mind when I tell you that I thought this was a rather enjoyable issue. Thomas Alliaotto, alias Big Tommy A, one of the seemingly endless ganglords that calls Gotham City home, goes nuts before this issue even opens, pulling a gun and opening fire on what he sees as a room full of demons. Batman discovers him to be amped up on some sort of hallucinogenic drug, massively powerful and incredibly dangerous. (This info, given to us in the first few pages, is probably enough for most Bat-fans to figure out the last-page villain. If that isn’t, the fact that he’s on the cover of an issue a couple of months from now that’s already been solicited all over the internet should be).

Even though the identity of the villain isn’t new, his old tricks are amplified and altered in this issue. That’s not exactly anything new, but the way it’s played up is pretty original. Winick has shown a surprising talent for a good crime drama in his Caper series, and some of that skill definitely shows in this issue. He also does a good job with the supporting cast, including a great sequence with Alfred and a disguised Robin that’s slightly ironic considering upcoming events in that character’s own title.

Dustin Nguyen and Richard Friend do a fine job on the art chores, with a very classical-looking Batman as he leaps out of the shadows and a beautiful job on the architecture of the city. For lighter scenes the colors of Alex Sinclair sell the book, giving us a Batman that exists in shades of gray. It’s a look that really works for this title.

Given my disappointment in the last few months of the book, it’s probably inevitable that I would enjoy this story considerably more. I honestly don’t think it’s just me, though, I think this is a good, solid, old-school Batman story. Check it out yourself and see if you agree.

Rating: 8/10

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