It’s (Bat)man vs. machine, round 2 (or 3, or 4).
Picking up right from last month’s final page, Batman is face-to-face with Failsafe (again), trading dialogue, and eventually jabs. Batman uses his brain to try and outsmart the A.I., and figure out exactly where he is. Meanwhile, Nightwing and Barbara Gordon are putting their heads together to come up with a way to help Batman. And The Joker knows way too much.
I’ve become a broken record, and am trying to avoid it, but I’m pretty “blah” on Zur-en-arrh (or “Zur” in this book). My conflict when reading these issues from writer Chip Zdarsky is to try and set aside my personal feelings, and judge this issue with an open mind.
With that, the book is “fine”, leaning more toward the positive. Zdarsky constructs some well-placed action bits and has Batman constantly using his brain (which is absolutely true to form). I just can’t help but think this feels a little redundant from the writer’s first arc and would enjoy it more if an actual human villain was going up against the Dark Knight. Adding to it the overcomplicated explanations/manifestations/etc. of how “Zur” works, it’s just muddy.
Jorge Jimenez continues to be the bright spot in this book. The guy is meant for action and brings his incredible energy to each page. As mentioned above, there are good action bits here, and his art is the highlight. There’s movement in still frames. There’s clarity in what’s happening. And the settings are also impressive. The book is moving to different locations throughout, adding more challenges to Jimenez, but he meets them with ease.
Overall, “Mind Bomb” is sort of what it promises. It’s a little dense and is challenging Batman mentally, but feels like it’s blowing up. The anticipated “Joker: Year One” kicks off next month, and we’ll see if that adds any more explanation to all of this.
My guess is the joke’s on us. – Ryan Lower