Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Ardian Syaf
In this tie in to DC’s big Green Lantern-centric event Blackest Night, Batman and Robin are thrown for a loop when dead enemies and family alike are brought back by the black rings and cause chaos in Gotham. The new Dynamic Duo gets some help from already-dead Deadman. Red Robin also comes back from his trip abroad, taking a break from looking for the one parent he doesn’t believe is dead so he can deal with the parents he already knows are.
The thing I particularly liked going into this book is the potential for showing the effects of this large intergalactic Green Lantern conflict has on the non-powered, grounded citizens of the superhero community. In other words, the potential for a really awesome Batman zombie story. In case you haven’t heard (and Marvel Zombies will be sure to remind you), zombies have been trendy these last few years.
Theoretically, this could be great for a Batman story. Good zombies are typically an unrelenting force that requires planning, waiting, being resourceful and keeping a cool head to survive. That is Batman. Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t focus on any of that. Instead, everyone is scurrying about to get to and from Gotham City’s police headquarters. Everything is too rushed and hectic. Given, the situation at hand is hectic, Black Lanterns invading Gotham, but the story itself happens too fast.
Particularly rushed is the rescue from police headquarters. So much happens so quickly from attack to rescue, and it’s just not well thought out. When Deadman possesses Barbara, her legs work part of the time, and part of the time they don’t. Deadman also manages to evacuate most of the building off panel, giving the writer and artist one less story element to tell. Then Red Robin, who was in France maybe an hour earlier (if that), is back in Gotham with what I hope is the fastest and most fuel-efficient Batwing this side of Batman Beyond.
Too much wants to happen too quickly here. This second issue is struggling to get everything together in time for the climatic third and final issue of the miniseries. This single issue should have been two at least, but because it’s not, the pacing is off and the situation loses a feeling of scale. The focus is concentrated on the main characters. How about the rest of the Bat family? How about the rest of Gotham PD, or all of Gotham for that matter? Only one page shows Black Lanterns attacking random Gothamites, so while we know this is a massive zombie invasion affecting whole city, we really only see the actual impact on so few. Since those few are busy running around or unloading flamethrowers, the feeling of suspense is lost and the story loses some impact.
Still, while flamethrowers seem to be a-ok, nice to know that guns are still off limits in the Grayson administration.
The art is generally good in the book. The penciling and the inking do a nice job making everything take shape, not flat and simple. The costumes are well detailed, and the coloring is slightly dulled to fit the dark setting. It works well for the most part.
That’s not to say there aren’t problems. Particularly, the Barbara-possessed Deadman scenes can be difficult to tell what’s going on. There’s definitely some leg usage on behalf of the tragically-crippled Barbara Gordon’s body. One panel almost looks like she’s flying through a doorway.
Some scenes oddly completely lose their backgrounds. Probably the most striking instance is when the Batwing lands to pick up the Commissioner and Barbara. There’s nothing in that panel except for the two of them, some rain around just them and the Batwing circling around. The cityscape, the sky, the burning roof and the charred Black Lanterns behind them disappear for a quiet, almost serene seen.
And then there’s the cover. Slightly misleading in how decked out the trio of Batman, Robin and Red Robin are in compared to the book. They actually even have guns on the cover, contrary to Batman specifically mentioning the strict anti-gun policy within the book. Sadly though, the cover does do a better job portraying a zombie invasion story than the issue itself.
The miniseries started off decently with the first issue, but in hastily putting everything in place for the finale, this issue suffers from bad pacing and focus. It’s probably all Damian fault. He mentions the Z word, and you never say the Z word in a zombie story.
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10