Review: Batman #7

batman7coverBatman vs. Kaiju. Dozens of writers and editors are currently facepalming because they didn’t come up with that simple, yet powerful idea before writers Steve Orlando and Tom King. But the story isn’t just a straight up, Batman and his allies punching monsters. Batman #7 also deals with the fallout of Tim Drake’s death in Detective Comics #940 as Batman projects his sadness about losing another Robin into evacuating Gotham as quick as possible from an impending flood instead of dealing with his grief. The comic is a fine opening salvo for the mini “Night of the Monster Men” crossover with plenty of blockbuster action, dry one-liners, interactions between the Bat-Family, and twisted art from Riley Rossmo.

Rossmo is primarily known as a horror artist from his work on Hellblazer and and his take on kaijus is definitely the opposite of Toho even though both Godzilla and the Monster Men are products of scientific experimentation gone too far. And his monsters are flat out abominations and take up the entire panel tottering like babies with a giant one eyed globe that is the size of a tall building. In one word, it’s a unique design, and Orlando and King use its presence to make Batman go more desperate than usual as it takes exploding an entire Batplane plus a nifty John Henry Irons designed jetpack to take it out. Colorist Ivan Plascencia adds to the Monster Men’s disgusting nature by giving their mutated bodies a large blotch of red to offset the dark rain and purple and yellow explosions. They’re gross, powerful, and there is going to be much more of them as the crossover continues.

batman7interiorBatman #7 doesn’t really show much of Hugo Strange’s reasoning behind sending giant monsters to attack Gotham, but the lack of fleshed out villain is redeemed by Orlando and King’s character work with the Batman family. Before any fighting happens, there is an extended scene of dialogue between Batman, Nightwing, and Batman and her team of Spoiler, Cassandra Cain, and Clayface. During this scene, Batman is practically gazing at the abyss and kind of seems to have a death wish. Batwoman and Nightwing are trying to pull him back, but to no avail. To their credit, King and Orlando don’t characterize Batman as 100% broody as he makes wise cracks about Duke Thomas not being ready to fight monsters yet. He also is supportive of Clayface and his heroic potential as the former villain shifts into GCPD officers to help with the evacuation quicker. Batman might fight a monster mano a mano in this issue, but he is a far cry from the Batman of “Death of the Family”, who wasn’t willing to help his friend and allies for an assist in saving the city.

Batman #7 is like a summer blockbuster with an October horror twist as Rossmo draws a fast and frantic transformation sequence, but there are also plenty of action movie explosions and one-liners. But Orlando and King keep the big action grounded in the fragile dynamic and elevate the story from just being a popcorn read. Rossmo’s slightly askew art helps too.

Also, where else are you going to be able to see Batman fly a plane into a two story monster?

Story: Steve Orlando and Tom King Art: Riley Rossmo Colors: Ivan Plascencia
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review