The Asgardian Trade Commission 11/28/10

Posted on November 28, 2010. Filed under: Reviews |

by Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger

Alright folks, I’m going to do something I promised that I would do a long time ago.  My birthday was July 31st, a Saturday, and I skipped the following post because I was out of town.  I never got around to reviewing the book I had planned for that Sunday, so I’m going to do it here instead.

Batman: Dark Victory

DC Comics, $19.95

Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale

Coming directly after Batman: The Long Halloween(parts of which were used to model the story for The Dark Knight), Batman: Dark Victory is a retelling of an early part of Batman’s career, focusing on how the Dark Knight and the city of Gotham move on afterward.  There’s a lot of praise for the work that Loeb and Sale do together, most notably their color books for Marvel, The Long Halloween, Dark Victory, and Superman For All Seasons for DC.  I can see where Loeb’s stories are entertaining to a degree, but after a while you stop looking at the stories for the stories and start seeing a pattern emerging in each one.  There are unique circumstances surrounding each story, sure, and they’re definitely not the same story all the time, but there comes a point where it’s almost certain that each story will turn into a rogue showcasing for each hero and the story serves as a way to get those characters to interact with the hero.  For that, Dark victory seemed to me like less of the organic natural progression of the story and more like an excuse to get Tim Sale to draw the Joker, Two Face, Poison Ivy, Mister Freeze, and company again.  Even the detective elements, something that Batman usually does so well, seem forced, with red herrings thrown in to throw the reader off, even if they aren’t that effective.  I think the biggest problem with that is that there’s not enough time taken to develop the characters so that I actually care when the real big bad is revealed, so the revelation ends up with more of a “meh” feeling than the “whoa” that the story is obviously going for.  All that said, it’s definitely not the worst Batman story you could read.  It’s entirely self-contained and not too dependent on continuity(other than The Long Halloween, which any Batman fan worth his salt will have read), and it does look fairly fantastic, with Sale utilizing the shadows to superb effect throughout the book.  I’d say if you can find it for less than cover price, it could be worth your time.  Otherwise, stick to better Loeb and Sale works.

Batroc’s Beard 2/5

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