Chaos takes over…………
It’s Christmas Time for Gotham, and if you know the city – this is the time the real crazies come out to play.
It’s a tough nut that Manapul and Buccellato try to crack. Anarky has been used sparsely (I think one Zero Year tie in is ‘his’ only New 52 appearance) as most writers don’t know what to do with ‘him’.
I think the Beware the Batman show (ended too soon…) was a victim of Anarky overuse. While Joker does represent chaos, he is theatrical chaos. Anarky is more anti-government than pure chaos – and it’s hard to use that angle too many times.
What Manapul and co try to do is balance the legend versus the Rogue. While I’m not sure it works, it is a valiant effort.
The awesome artwork is a nice plus though.
Jeb Lester - one of the corrupt workers at WayneTech is Anarky’s first victim. A gasoline tank, some matches and shattered glass later, poor Lester welcomes Christmas in Gotham by warming the night sky.
Meanwhile Mad Hatter attempts to find his latest victim with the help of his two stooges (though not named, I’m sure it’s Twedledee and Twedledum) but Batman is there to put a stop to his plans.
During their battle, a water hole brings up the remains of some children – and Bruce can’t be sure whether it is Jervis or someone else who committed those heinous crimes.
Alfred tries to cheer Bruce up with some decorations while Bullock continues to obsess over the Anarky symbol he found at the back of one of the trafficking trucks in Icarus.
There’s a lot of dialogue to get through, but it’s worth it – showing sides of Bullock not explored for a long time. The lack of home life is straining Bullock and Nancy Yip knows it.
A call to WayneTech provides Bullock some distractions – but the victim brings up unpleasant memories. Lester’s office makes for worse news, as a newly-arrived Batman tells Bullock and co that a bomb has been armed to WayneTech.
Even as Bruce tries to stop it, the building lights up in a giant A.
The writers balance a healthy dose of frantic action with some great character moments – but the Mad Hatter segment, while contributing to the gloom spreading across Gotham, feels extraneous.
The artwork is excellent though, and I feel a tinge of disappointment whenever a dialogue bubble invades the panel (not that the dialogue is all that bad).
Using Anarky is a tough task, but in this initial outing, the writers get ‘him’ just right. But the extraneous segments prove detrimental though they reinforce the theme of the issue.
The artwork is excellent though, and I find the signs encouraging.
So, I give it 8.0 out of 10.
+Solid character work
+Optimum use of Anarky
-Some cases of dialogue overload