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Batman ’89 # 6 Review | Batman News

Batman ’89 # 6 Review |  Batman News

Eleven months and six issues later, Batman ’89 has finally decided on a story. It has been one of my biggest disappointments with the series so far, in that it feels like it’s more of a collection of loosely connected scenes without anything tying it all together. Now, in the last issue, Sam Hamm has admittedly gathered most of his threads to something reminiscent of a conclusion. It should not surprise you, unfortunately, that there is not one satisfactory conclusion in any way. Immediately hurried and crowded, this is something I have tried very, very hard to avoid saying: a bad cartoon.

Given the declining returns of each issue, and the fact that the penultimate section still made me think “ok, where’s this going?”, I’m unfortunately not surprised. The expectation was so high to enter the series that it was given to dampen expectations, but the man did it hard this fall.

And it’s not just that the story is getting ready right now, here at the end. That in itself is not necessarily a reason to criticize a plot. Sometimes a story reveals itself in the story, or has a mystery built in that should not be clarified until you reach the end of the road. None of the parts are relevant here, but as the story in Batman ’89 wandered and meandered in four and a half numbers before landing on… this. It could have been an interesting character study by Harvey Dent – which at least until this issue was the strongest aspect of Hamm’s writing – but it also wants to be about corruption and injustice and equality and what happens to Catwoman. Nice ideas all together, but they have to make sense. The story must be the vessel for the social comment you are trying to make, not a thin line on which you can hang your half-baked ideas. Without a clear narrative thread to tie all six cases together, the added elements feel like an afterthought.

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More than just serving as the end of a flawed story, number six here is just sloppy. Characters appear in one place and are suddenly in a completely different place with the change of sides, and the fate of an important player is not clarified until too late in the case processing. It should really have been an emotional turning point in the final, but it lacks some kind of weight. I knew I was going to be upset because I’m a fan, but I was not the least bit moved. This, together with the fact that Batman was a non-entity for the whole book and Catwoman’s characterization and motives make zero sense, shows that this was really not a big spotlight for established Gotham City characters. The new Robin could have been interesting, but he too lacks any kind of consistent bow. A great idea and cool design that did not turn into much of anything in the end.

If I had more energy or desire to do so, I could have written many more words about how disappointing this book ended up being. I just can not and I will not. If you’ve been doing the series for so long, you may feel the same way. If you have saved at this point, then you surely feel the same way. Although the story was not so much, there are still some positive sides. Cowles is a good letter, and makes the dialogue easy to follow and read, even if the writing itself is not great. Kinoner and Ito in particular are a great team, even though this is not the right book for them, and the edition opens with an insanely good page that highlights pencils, colors and letters.

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As a bonus, the ingenious Julian Totino Tedesco contributes with an absolutely fantastic variant cover, so if you are interested in that kind, the cover price may be worth it for this:

Spoiler

Although I hate to say it, I’m glad this book is over. I went in and wanted to love it, liked the first issue well enough, and each subsequent issue has been nothing but diminishing returns. Burton and Keaton’s Batman deserved better.

Recommended if:

  • You’ve read the series so far.
  • You like cool variant covers.

All in all: It is over. There is not much more for me to say. I wanted to love this book, and held out hope for as long as I could, but even the few bright spots I clung to did not pay off in the end. The art is fine, and I would love to see this team on another book, but the writing was never better than “interesting”. And really, it rarely rose above that. A few weeks ago I saw Batman just because, and this makes me want to see it again, for the wrong reasons.

POINT: 4.5 / 10


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