SYNOPSIS: Guillem March’s gripping, white-knuckled “Back to Year One” Batman adventure concludes!
“Pygmalion” wraps up, making this second multi-part arc the first one to be complete in this title. Guillem March once again provides story, art, and letters and nails each one!
With Aurora, her mom, Magdalena, and their entire building held hostage, the Batmen must plan a daring rescue together. “ Bryce” takes the lead in narration, with his dialogue and thought processes seeming very much like the person whose mantle he has been assuming this whole time. It highlights how he was able to fool some people with his mistaken identity.
The two-pronged approach makes for a riveting action scene, causing the requisite confusion with the criminals as Batman appears to be in multiple places at once. March uses the dual Batmen to good effect, confusing friend and foe alike.
March also creates several suspenseful moments, including a betrayal and a few harrowing rescues. On top of the action, March reveals the character of “Bryce”, who, inspired by Batman, makes repentance for past sins by emulating the hero no matter the cost. You feel for him.
The Year One parallels aren’t as strong in this issue, especially as “Bryce’s” origins have been uncovered, but this is still a thrilling story with some appealing art and painterly coloring by Arif Prianto. The sky behind Batman, as he confronts one of his villains, was a particular favorite visual of mine, with wonderful contrast a few pages later when an explosion rocks the rooftops. This is a delight to look at, especially if you are a fan of March’s.
“Angels in The Architecture” is the Batman: Black & White story, by John Higgins. While I quite enjoyed Higgins’ lush artwork, the tragic story fell a bit flat for me. I must admit that it was a hard story for me to grasp what was being depicted and it took a reread or two to figure it out fully. Also, Batman may have inadvertently killed a child with a terminal disease, which isn’t exactly the ending to a story you want to see. The parallel plots of the Citizens Against terrorists and terminal kids wearing military-grade exoskeletons so they can play a VR game called “Gothimon Go” needed just a little more restructuring and fleshing out. It was a lot to get across in the page count allotted and would probably be better served as a main feature.
While the Black & White story didn’t draw me in, I thoroughly enjoyed the conclusion to “Pygmalion”. March has demonstrated his abilities to handle both sides of the storytelling equation and I would love to see him attempt it again. It was a very satisfying finale, one worth checking out. Hopefully, DC gives it a trade paperback release, free from the non-Batman backups! – Javier E. Trujillo