Ay!  Yo!  Ya, miss me?

Two reviews in one month?  What is going on here?  Well, Ram V has a 5-part bi-weekly story and a backup of his own, and Watters returns with two backup tales.  While someone at DC loves Hoss, this issue is dedicated to his fandom.  Azrael is back and a massive player in two of the five stories in this book.

Are you ready?

You know what?  I dig this issue.   There is a lot here that I am not interested in, but there are some great moments in this book.  Right off the bat, I am not an AzBats guy.  I wasn’t into him back then; Tynion tried on his Tec run, but that didn’t work.  I’m just not a St. Dumas kind of guy.  This issue seems to be Azrael’s grand return since the Dawn of DC rebrand.  So, if you are a fan, expect more to come.

V finally delivers with scenes that I knew he always could.   Selina Kyle and Jim Gordon steal the show with some help from Montoya and Ivy.  Their dialogue and interactions are as close as one can get to definitive.  Only Jim Gordon can live a calm civilian lifestyle while still offering that trust and lawful determination.  Catwoman’s swift thinking and on-the-fly game planning are on full display.  V has finally caught my attention.  Enough with the pretentious mythology that can’t get off the ground.  Get back to Bat-basics: search and rescue, tactical planning,

Yeah, I know half the book has some Bat-Barbados running around Batman’s head, and the Six-Eyed Witch of the Westside is also there, but the back half of the book showed me something.  Break this down in the moment.  Catwoman and Gordon are going to rescue Batman.  Along the way, they grabbed help from familiar faces.  That is a tale I can get down with.  No matter if there are werewolves or not.

Jason Shawn Alexander is the artist of this issue.  Alexander has a unique style that I can only compare to Kelley Jones.   It’s perfect for this spooky style that V is going for.  Alexander does a great job with Gordon and Selina’s scenes.  From the background bar fights to Azrael swinging his sword of fire, there isn’t much to complain about.  I can see some not digging this art style, but for me, this is what makes great comics.  The art is accurate enough and, at the same time, unbelievable.  Catwoman and Ivy, towards the end of the book, have this Jones/Tim Sale vibe; I feel blending both styles.

I’m pulling my Lower card here.  I didn’t read these backup tales.  For starters, I don’t trust Watters, and the Question and Azrael will not keep me hanging around for sixteen pages.  Azrael vs Vengeance?  Sounds as good as Jaws: The Revenge.  Regarding V’s backup, I will quit while I’m ahead.  This is stuff Javi will love, not for me.

The familiarity of crucial characters in their roles proves that V has a classic Batman tale to tell.  Alexander left an impression on this book.  This issue could very well be the turning point.  I look forward to seeing V develop more traditional Bat-family relationships and see where he can go from there.  We have had the art take charge of this title for a long time.  This is the cream of the crop.  While I’m warming up to the story, I do love the art here.  I complained about loving the art of the story in the last review.  This time, the book ended on a high note.  But let’s be honest: five tales for half a good story and great art.  That is not good.  Has the bar been lowered that much? – Peter Verra