I’m afraid that I must have finished off all the good Batman comics last year. Other than Hush Part II I don’t know that I’ve come across any really good ones in 2009 so far. Andy Diggle and Whilce’s Portacio’s Batman: Rules of Engagement brings us back some time early in Batman’s career. Gordon is still a Captain, and for some reason they want to bring Lex Luthor into the mix. I couldn’t care less, frankly. Whilce’s style is distinctive and suited to computer-generated coloring (though his black-and-white drawings are powerful, muscly, full of shadows) yet his Bruce Wayne seems as far from dishy as you can get. Yes, it’s just a bit ho-hum, in my opinion.
Again, kudos to Matt Wagner for drawing and writing Batman and the Monster Men, set in the same time frame (roughly) as the above story, and what Batman and the Mad Monk was preceded by. Unfortunately, Wagner can’t seem to draw beautiful women, which is a shame since Julie Madison is such an important part of Monster Men. From the point of view I knew nothing about Dr. Hugo Strange the comic was useful in solidifying my education on that character. The carnage is reminiscent of Beowulf & Grendel, appropriate since Wagner is responsible for a comic called Grendel. In the world of this comic, the Red Hood has just vanished into the vat of chemicals, allowing Gordon to comment, “Is this a joke?” “I’m no joker,” Batman deadpans.
Is it time to seek out comics other than Batman?