By: David Finch (writer and penciller), Scott Williams (inker), Alex Sinclair (colors)

The Story: Golden Dawn, Part Two: Batman and the Penguin tangle over exactly who is interrogation whom. They’re both lugging around some Dawn Golden baggage. Killer Croc smashing entrance doesn’t even things up. In the meantime, Commissioner Gordon is getting his own Dawn Golden problems. And somebody stole the Batmobile!

What Good: I loved the visuals in this book. Finch is a great artist and he captured the eerily slow, deliberate movements of Batman in full-on menace mode. Check out the difference in Batman between the credit page and the bottom panel of the next. In terms of dynamicism, Finch has got it down. Check out Killer Croc’s move on Batman as he surprises him. That’s art in movement. The level of detail on the settings and the people (especially Penguin) were highly textured. Another great example of detail is the theft of the Batmobile. The artistic anti-heroism doesn’t stop at the Penguin either. The three surviving hobos (after last issue’s offing of the one called the King) are living wrecks, expertly done. I have to mention Sinclair’s colors throughout. Whether it’s a bright orange suit on a green Croc, or some subtle purples and blues to set off night in Gotham around the hobos, Sinclair sews it up.

Story-wise, Finch took us through a roller-coaster of reversals and surprises. The Penguin-Batman tussle is the spine of the plot and first one has the upper hand, then the other, then it gets worse, then it flips again. The relative state of each by the end of the book is pretty dramatic. And Finch also takes us into some weird, violent territory. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Batman takes interrogation to new levels here. His rage reminds me a lot of the loss of control that Dick experienced in last week’s Batman (#708). Both men are experiencing some pretty uncharacteristic loss of control due to similar forces. While this single parallel across two Bat-books isn’t that odd, this is also the same month I’ve been noticing the religiously themed villains in Batman (Crusader + Azrael) and Batman and Robin (White Knight). I still doubt editorial direction, but the coincidences are weird.

What’s Not So Good: Finch and company left me with nothing to complain about!

Conclusion: A solid issue of Batman. A definite buy.

Grade: B

-DS Arsenault

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