The villain of Tony Daniel’s plot allows for some interesting art, which is perhaps why he’s using the concept. It takes quite a bit of skill to go from mere figure drawing, which is impressive enough, to not only a wide diversity of skull shapes and facial features but managing to maintain consistency for all the characters throughout the book. The line work is complemented well by Tomeu Morey’s colors and helps clarify some of the more confusing points of the book.
But there are some unclear moments in the book. The closest thing to an establishing shot for the first scene comes on the first panel of page two. All the characters appear in the shot, but there are no real backgrounds until the last panel of page four. Combined with the severe cropping, the opening action sequence falls flat.
As the story progresses, Daniel does put a bit of the “detective” into Detective Comics as we learn a bit more about Olivia. Too bad the writer forgot to reintroduce her to the story; between this issue and last month’s this reader completely forgot who she was. And it is unclear if Olivia is working for the Dollmaker or somebody completely different. If this is not clarified in the next issue the different plot threads will seem like a jumbled mess.
While this Batman seems to have left his IQ in another book, his rash decisions do line up a bit more with the detective genre. He is smart enough to recognize a trap, but dumb enough to still fall into it? Fine. At least he can still go home and solve the case from behind a keyboard.
But the Dollmaker is all over the place. On one hand, there is his vendetta against Gordon, which is simple enough as far as villain motivations go. However, the Dollmaker’s plans for Batman feel scattered. At first, the Dollmaker want’s Batman’s face, presumably after he is dead. But later, the master plan seems to have been to stage the fight between Batman and the Jokers all along. Why then the detour into an interest in cutting up Batman?
The dialogue is painfully awkward. This fulfills my obligation to say something about the dialogue.
Panel-to-panel continuity glitches, poor plotting, and inconsistent characterization abound in the title bearing DC Comics’ namesake. At first glance the attractive art can cover up the poor writing, but that impression will not last long.
WRITING: 1 / ART: 3 / OVERALL: 2