Summary: They aren’t even halfway there and Batman’s bruised, poisoned, and getting tired of Harvey’s two-facedness. So many things happen, but we are questioning if it is worth it.
As Scott Snyder continues to write this story, we see that he is turning away from the horror atmosphere element that he had been infusing the New 52 Batman with. As Batman continues his road trip through the villains’ gauntlet. Unfortunately, this issue was unsatisfactory with more telling than showing going on with the story. Many of the elements felt like they were playing for time rather than being crucial plot elements, dragging the story at points. Another negative about Snyder’s writing is that there are some blocks of text that seem oddly phrased, maybe they will make more sense as more of the story is revealed, but upon this first-look the strange phrasings are a little distracting.
The backup story was a bit better than the main story, however, it too suffered a little as filler for the next big plot element. The journey of Duke Thomas is fascinating however and it is the strength of the character that is keeping the story afloat for now.
John Romita Jr.’s art is solid, really working well with the garish colors to make the story seem more harrowing. There are some moments where Romita has some truly beautiful work and reminds us why he is such an acclaimed artist.
While Declan Shalvey’s art is almost complete opposite to Romita’s style, it does not make it any less impressive. His work is simple, but expressive, especially when drawing the exchange between Batman and Duke. While there was not a moment for Shalvey to shine, here is hoping the next chapter will allow him to blow our minds with something crazily exclusive.
Some ups and downs makes for a weak sophmore chapter. 2.5/5