From the pages of Justice League of America and Birds of Prey, Katana gets her own ongoing series! Katana is a former assassin on a noble quest to restore the Outsiders to their former glory. Will she succeed, or will she be overcome by the power of her sword, the SoulTaker?
As a new series from DC Comics, I was very interested in seeing what the first issue would be like, I was very intrigued. Part of that came from the fact that I was completely blank as to who this character is and any of her history. I read some of Birds of Prey, but not enough that I know really anything about Katana and her backstory. With that being the case, one would hope a new series would be new reader friendly, even with a character established in another comic. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case here.
We’re dropped into he story with Katana on a mission. We’re given hints as to all of this, something about a sword, something about honor but it’s not really explained. The sword part is clear enough, but not the whole Outsiders thing.
Then there’s the story itself which attempts to have an Far Eastern style to it. Instead it comes off as choppy and at parts incoherent. It’s a good effort, but falls flat for me. And, we’re given little about the character. There’s not much there to get me to connect with her or care about her journey.
Add in some strange events, a trip to a madam and looking at some girl’s tattoos, a fight at the end which seems out of place. It’s a bit muddled and a mess.
The series tries to do some interesting things, but falls flat for me. Maybe it’s better for fans of the character, but as someone who is essentially a new reader, it fails in the first issue’s two objectives, to get me interested and caught up.
Story: Ann Nocenti Art: Alex Sanchez
Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass
This is it: The stunning conclusion to “Death of the Family”! Who lives? Who dies? Who laughs last? Find out as Batman and The Joker face off one last time!
Scott Snyder has given the Batman franchise energy that’s been missing from the comics for some time. Not only do we have his brilliant introduction of new villains (see below), but there’s also the return of the Joker and his trail of destruction to get at Batman and his family.
Many have suspected that this issue would see the “death” of a character, but they seem to have taken the title of the story arc a bit too literal, not to reveal anything with that. Instead, this latest scheme by the Joker is to attack Batman by driving a wedge between him and the members of his family, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, etc. That’s the “death” Snyder is focused on.
Snyder takes on a topic that’s long debated, and so much more. How interconnected are Batman and the Joker? Does Batman need him more so than his allies? And why hasn’t he killed the Joker by this point?
This isn’t the drag out battle you’d expect. There is that, but this is much more about the relationship and dynamic between the hero and his arch-nemesis foe as well as that same hero and his friends and allies.
As we see in the final pages there’ll be a lot coming down the road as Batman and his family must recover and deal with the Joker’s latest scheme. The Joker’s return kicked the series into an even higher gear, just as Snyder has done for the entire Batman franchise.
With art by Greg Capullo, it’s not just the story that’s the draw. The art is stunning as expected with small details and scenes that just make you linger on the page. It’s an amazing pairing for the finale of what might be one of Batman’s best battles yet with the Joker.
Story: Scott Snyder Art: Greg Capullo
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
Batman: The Night of Owls
In this new hardcover, evil spreads across Gotham City as Batman’s allies, including Red Robin, Batwing, Robin, Batgirl, the Birds of Prey, Nightwing and even Catwoman find themselves in a battle coming from all sides. The Court of Owls makes its move against justice in this sprawling tale of corruption and violence.
I’ve always been an off and on Batman fan. I’ve never been a huge fan, but I’ve enjoyed reading some of the various runs or story arcs over the years. Lately though, I’ve been a fan, as Batman has been on a roll lately facing amazing villains and giving us classic stories like this one.
The Court of Owls and their assassins, the Talons, have presented a foe for Batman and his allies that feels like their match if not betters. We have an actual challenge that tests the groups’ abilities and in many cases leaves the group hobbling and on the run.
And behind it all the Court of Owls feel like proper Batman villains, manipulating Gotham from the shadows and directing it’s destiny without the citizens knowing. It’s part psychological thriller, part action story.
I fully expected the series to suffer, by being wedged into continuity, but the writers and team have somehow held that issue off, and actually enhanced the Batman mythos.
Before the New 52, I felt a lot of the recent Batman stories haven’t lived up to the hype, here though, it’s as good as they say if not more so. Great villains, great story, great addition to the Batman corner of the DCU.
Collects Batman #8-9, Batman Annual #1, Detective Comics #9, Batman: The Dark Knight #9, Batwing #9, Batman and Robin #9, Red Hood and the Outlaws #9, Birds of Prey #9, Batgirl #9, Nightwing #8-9 and All-Star Western #9.
Story: Scott Snyder, James T Tynion IV, Tony S. Daniel, Judd Winick, Peter J. Tomasi, Duane Swierczynski, Gail Simone, Scott Lobdell, Kyle Higgins, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti Art: Greg Capullo, Jason Fabok, Tony S. Daniel, David Finch, Marcus To, Patrick Gleason, Travel Foreman, Ardian Syaf, Kenneth Rocafort, Guillem March, Eddy Barrows, Moritat
Story: 8.25 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review