Matthew Mahar's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: The Batman Universe Reviews: 45
7.2Avg. Review Rating

8.0
Batman (2016) #1

Jun 15, 2016

All in all, Batman #1 is a great setup that shows the core Batman title is in more than capable hands.

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7.0
Batman (2016) #2

Jul 6, 2016

David Finch and the ink team put in decent work. The poses werent terribly dynamic, but the pacing was solid and the camerawork kept things from getting too stale. Bellaire, as always, beautifully colors the pages. The contrast between the Gothams costumes and the city from which they take their names is a story unto itself. If it came down to Who did it better? Id support Mikel Janin over David Finch. His pencils are livelier and fit more in line with the rejuvenated Batman. Finchs approach seems much more in line with the frowny, battle worn character from previous years. Just my two cents, take it as you will.

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9.0
Batman (2016) #5

Aug 17, 2016

The art is more of the same. Finch is probably the best hes been in a long time, and Jordies colors are on point. The roughness of the issue is fully on display, bringing a touch of Capullos much lauded style to the pages. The Gotham presented here at the end is easily distinguished from the Gotham from the beginning of the story back in June. His visual arc has been as interesting as his character arc, and in comics, isnt that what were looking for?

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5.0
Batman (2016) #6

Sep 7, 2016

Epilogues. On one hand, theyre nice. They wrap up a story after the action, let you know how the characters are coping with everything. The other hand, though? Momentum-killers. You never know what youre going to get. This is a nice story. Its quaint. There are a few decent beats, but for the most part it came across as filler. The I Am Gotham arc was good, but I dont feel like it was deserving of its own epilogue. It didnt earn it. So, sadly, this is an instance where the epilogue is a momentum killer. If Gotham Girl is going to stick around as part of Batmans supporting cast, Id much rather have the fallout from her brothers death tie into her arc in the upcoming Night of the Monsters or I am Suicide arcs. It would bring an additional sense of cohesion to the ongoing narrative in Kings overall plan. Maybe it will be there. There are still a lot of questions to be answered as to how King will be running things. Im still excited for whats to come.

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7.0
Batman (2016) #7

Sep 21, 2016

If I had one complaint, it would be one that has been consistent across Kings run. The scale of the action is too large for Gotham. Batman has trashed at least three vehicles in a violent and spectacular manner that doesnt jive well with the character in my head. That seems like a story beat that when used sparingly can be powerful, but seems overdone and has lost any powerful effect. Anyway, the story looks like its going to be schlocky movie fun and I cant wait for more.

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6.0
Batman (2016) #8

Oct 5, 2016

That does it for the monster men, at least for the main Batman title. Everything will get wrapped up over in Detective Comics next week, and well be back here in two weeks for the thing weve been waiting for since the Rebirth one-shot: Mikel Janins Batman.

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9.0
Batman (2016) #9

Oct 19, 2016

Speaking of the team, I cannot say enough about return artist Mikel Janin. We got a taste of his work in the Rebirth special, but this arc will be his true Batman debut. For an issue that was mostly talking heads, Janin was able to keep things captivating with great panel design and camerawork. His work is reminiscent of a cleaner Greg Capullo, who I thought drew the best Bruce Wayne around. Janin is giving him a run, though. June Chung has taken the reigns on coloring from the astounding Jordie Bellaire and the work hasnt dropped a beat. Things are fresh when they need to be and even the darkness isnt overpowering. Theres a great balance. Also, Id be remiss if I didnt compliment Tim Sale on his variant cover for this book. They havent been the greatest, but this one caught my eye. Im a sucker for Bane, though. See you all in 2 weeks!

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4.0
Batman (2016) #10

Nov 2, 2016

This is a chief example of my biggest problem with this storyline so far: Batman is easily the least interesting thing about it. Banes presentation as a damaged man escaping his personal demons while living right above them is terribly interesting, giving depth to what was once an extremely one note character. Rumor is were going to be seeing a lot of Catwoman going forward, so Im anxious to see how King handles the relationship there, especially in light of her murder spree. I cant see Batman overlooking that. This issue was far from bad, but it was a creative misstep that threw off the momentum from a great introductory issue. The art was equal parts beautiful and muddled, with the storytelling somewhat out of sync with the narrative. King and Janin are still finding their footing together, so I can understand their action scenes not lining up as well as their establishing scenes. Now that this is behind us, Im hoping for the best going forward.

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5.0
Batman (2016) #11

Nov 16, 2016

The highlight of this book continues to be the glimpses into the psyche of the characters we get through Kings dialogue. The discussion between Ventriloquist and Catwoman while navigating the sewage system of Santa Prisca. These glimpses are what give me my hope regarding the outcome of this story. Catwoman opines on how her dark side has firmly taken ahold of her, unlike Ventriloquist who is free without his catalyst, Scarface. Every bit of her dialogue points to her eventual betrayal, showing her to feel backed into a corner by her past actions. Its a powerful story I want to see more of.

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6.0
Batman (2016) #12

Dec 7, 2016

My issue with the story continues to be the disjointed feel between each installment. The narrative doesnt seem to flow as well as I would hope it would. Were nearing the end, so my final opinion will probably come down to how well they stick the landing. In two weeks, Im hoping they bring their A-game for the beginning of the end. These characters deserve it.

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8.0
Batman (2016) #13

Dec 21, 2016

Another arc, another uneven presentation. All of the elements were there in "I Am Suicide," but the execution faltered. Mikel Janin really saved this arc for me. His art has been phenomenal and I cannot wait for his next run on the book. "I Am Bane" features the return of the competent David Finch, but Janin's art and presentation bring a wholly different much more dynamic feel to the pages. His panel layouts alone bring this score of this book up. I can't say enough about the guy. That's it for "I Am Suicide." You were fun in parts, but I'm glad you served your purpose and are in the past.

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9.0
Batman (2016) #14

Jan 4, 2017

Im looking forward to the next issue more than I have for any other in Kings time on the book so far. Ive also found this story is gearing me up for I Am Bane more than I expected. It looks like its going to be a dramatic story. Well find out after we finish this sorbet in two weeks.

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10
Batman (2016) #15

Jan 18, 2017

These words cant do this story justice. If youre just reading this for a recap and some witty commentary without picking up the actual story, get out there now and track it down. This story is the best Batman has been in Rebirth, and for a good chunk of New 52. I consider this the first perfect issue from King and company. Its emotional and beautiful and more than worth your time. Im excited for I am Bane. King has shown that he has the emotional grasp on the storytelling that was seemingly absent from the previous issues. Im hoping he can blend that with the action storytelling and drop another classic onto our laps next month. The pieces are in place for something great.

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9.0
Batman (2016) #16

Feb 1, 2017

This is a great start to the story. Plenty of setup and great cliffhanger have gotten me invested. Im happy to say it seems like Kings found his groove. Im still laughing to myself about the Jokerized fries.

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5.0
Batman (2016) #17

Feb 15, 2017

Im committed to this story, of course. I have the highest of hopes. I just need to see some progress. I feel like the art and the story are disjointed. The level of clarity isnt what it needs to be. Maybe theres a communication issue between the parties. Maybe theres not. The end result is still a wonderfully cinematic, if flawed, story that Im not going to give up on.

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8.0
Batman (2016) #18

Mar 1, 2017

"I Am Bane" has been a roller coaster and it's only been three issues. The highs have been high and the lows have been troubling. This is the story we've been waiting for, though. This issue was pure adrenaline on the page. The story is far from over, but things are looking really good at this point.

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8.0
Batman (2016) #19

Mar 15, 2017

Ill give Rebirth this, the story arcs wrap up quick. It feels like just yesterday we were introducing the I Am Bane story and now were one issue removed from the close of Tom Kings third major Batman story. As long as they stick the landing, this could go down as one of the better stories in recent memory, despite how rushed it all seems to feel.

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6.0
Batman (2016) #20

Apr 5, 2017

Where do we go from here? Right into the DC Rebirth mythology in a four-part crossover with Joshua Williamsons The Flash. Were going to (hopefully) be getting some answers. Reread your DC Universe Rebirth one-shot and get ready to hash some stuff out. Well be back in two weeks to talk about The Button.

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9.0
Batman (2016) #21

Apr 19, 2017

The Button has kicked off in grand fashion with a quick, emotional opening punch of an issue. As we look forward, Im hoping to get some more light on what exactly Rebirth is all about. I dont need all the answers, but one or two would be appreciated. The worst thing I think DC could do right now is leave us even more confused after the end of this crossover. I dont see them doing that, however. Fan service has been a big part of the Rebirth initiative and theyve built up a lot of good will in my book. This opening chapter continues that trend. Ill see you next week with second part of this story in The Flash #21.

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9.0
Batman (2016) #22

May 3, 2017

As the clues about Rebirth come together, I like that Flash is also slowly putting together the pieces. It's comforting knowing that the timelines and events I am more familiar with still exist out there. I can't imagine at the end of the Rebirth story the previous timeline will be completely reintegrated, but I hope some elements are brought back. This was a very strong installment. "The Button" may have slowed down a little bit last issue, but if this issue is any indication, we're heading towards a blistering finale and, just maybe, some answers.

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9.0
Batman (2016) #23

May 17, 2017

After the breakneck pace of The Button it was nice to have a breather in this story that, while fast paced, played out simply and naturally over its course. Were gearing up for what appears to be another larger than life Batman story. Ill continue to be hopeful for Tom Kings work, but I cant help but feel like these smaller stories are where his talents are best used.

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7.0
Batman (2016) #24

Jun 7, 2017

I enjoyed the moment, but as a long time reader I know exactly what this means in the long run. Not much at all. I am less than thrilled, however, that it seems we wont be continuing this line of thought for some time. Issue #25 dives right into the War of Jokes and Riddles storyline which is set to run for the next few months and seems to take place in the past. Whether or not the creators will be touching on the present in those pages remains to be seen, but my moneys on no immediate resolution.

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8.0
Batman (2016) #25

Jun 21, 2017

The opening salvo of "The War of Jokes and Riddles" is as good as I could have hoped for. I can easily overlook the few missteps due to the overall strength of the outing. I already like it much, much more than "Zero Year," not that that's saying much.

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8.0
Batman (2016) #26

Jul 5, 2017

If King can keep up this quality of writing, gripes aside, this could easily be the standout run of his Batman career. To date, Rooftops is the story to beat when it comes to Kings Batman. If things continue on this path, we could have a new contender. There are problems of course, but Im not under the illusion of King, or anyone for that matter, creating the perfect Batman story. The key will always be whether or not the story is interesting enough to make up for the problems. In this case, were looking good.

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9.0
Batman (2016) #27

Jul 19, 2017

I want to start off by saying that this story is far better than it has any right to be. Kite Man is a joke of a character from the early 1960's whose resurgence this past year, complete with "Hell Yeah!" tag line, has delicately walked the line between being humorous and overplayed. Giving the character back story seemed absurd at first, but giving the character this degree of backstory is just crazy enough to work. And I want to be extremely clear, this is an absolutely heartbreaking backstory peppered with Tom King's signature, dry tongue-in-cheek humor.

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6.0
Batman (2016) #28

Aug 2, 2017

All things said, I'm ready for things to continue picking up as Batman nears his inevitable meltdown.

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6.0
Batman (2016) #29

Aug 16, 2017

While on the subject of Joker, the depression vibe from the character is getting strong and Tom King is no stranger to the topic of suicide in his back catalog. Its probably just speculation, but Batman talking Joker off the proverbial ledge would probably be something he sees as an unforgivable act. Well, we wont be getting many answers next issue, as its the second part of the Kite Man (Hell Yeah?) interlude. Come back and see if Im sick of him or not. Could go either way.

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9.0
Batman (2016) #30

Sep 6, 2017

Id really have liked to have seen the conversation where Batman latches his cart to Riddlers team. Sadly, it looks like this isnt that story. Maybe someday well get to see it if Tom King continues on the book as long as Scott Snyder stuck with it. Thats probably my main gripe. All of this story is packed into small moments and we lose a lot in the shuffle. I understand thats Kings approach to this arc, a high level recap showing Batmans train of thought throughout an intense period of his life. I just find it interesting enough that I want more. Luckily, we still have the third act to go so things probably arent as wound down as we might think they are.

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5.0
Batman (2016) #31

Sep 20, 2017

While this chapter does feel more like a few pages stretched into an entire issue, I cannot deny that Tom Kings charm is present. The dialogue is tight, and he accomplished exactly what he needed to and brought us right to the doorstep of the conclusion in preparation for the closing chapter. Im anxious to see how things close, as Tom King is really going to need to stick the landing for me to unequivocally call this story a success.

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9.0
Batman (2016) Annual #1

Nov 30, 2016

So, thats that for Batman Annual #1. Theyve really given us something for everyone in this book. Theres laughter, theres tears (Im an animal lover and Good Boy hit me right in the feels). Theres the promise of great things to come for Batman in 2017. I have to say, its a great time to be a Bat-fan.

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7.0
Batman Beyond (2016) #6

Mar 23, 2017

The first arc of this book was well written and entertaining, but it had a definite problem in the art department, with strange angular faces and an almost unfinished approach to some panels. This issue is a marked improvement for the team. Here Bernard Chang is firing on all cylinders and showing us a sleek, not overly stylistic approach that he was just missing in previous issues. The team has seemed to gel and this book is much better for it. They've given us a solid story that simultaneously respects the past while building a new future. I'm looking forward to seeing what's to come.

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8.0
Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1

Sep 28, 2016

Dan Jurgens gave us a fun story that continues to remain in the classic future setting of the story with plenty of callbacks to the modern era to develop the relationship between the two settings. As an admittedly uninformed reader, this was welcome. He is joined by Ryan Sook on pencils and inks while Tony Avina and Travis Lanham share coloring duties. There is a pitfall when it comes to drawing sci-fi/futuristic stories. The art can overpower the story. The team here keeps everything in check and doesn't go out of their way to show how "wild" the future has become. It's believable, which is appreciated. Jurgens continues this series hot off the heels of his writings duties on the previous pre-Rebirth Batman Beyond title, so I'm wondering if that might be worth checking out. Should I check out those books? Leave a comment below. The strong story here makes me wonder if I'm missing out on something.

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6.0
Batman: Rebirth #1

Jun 1, 2016

Regardless, the main event is forthcoming with Batman #1 in two weeks. Im still excited. The team proved they could tell a solid Batman story. The introductory scene is over, its time to cue the opening credits, and see what Tom King and crew have in store for us.

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6.0
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #5

Jun 29, 2016

The back up story is an interlude that really isnt worth mentioning as it does not add much to the story. Baal and Lara share a little Kryptonian/Amazonian flirting, namely alternating kissing and punching, and were left wondering how invested Lara is in her Kryptonian comrades plot. In truth, I dont find much appealing about Lara as a character. Shes not even fun to hate. This is easily the most disappointing of the various one shot stories released.

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4.0
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #6

Oct 19, 2016

There's plenty of story left to tell. I'm hoping this book brings it back together and finishes strong. The team behind it is great, so I have faith in them. There's always some missteps along the way, so let's put this ordeal in the past and focus on what's to come next.

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7.0
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #7

Dec 28, 2016

Just like this past year, we've gone through a lot of crap in DK3 so far. I, for one, am not letting all that baggage drag me down into the new year. I'm looking forward to the close of this series again, no longer just to have it be over, but because I'm excited to see what it brings. Just like 2017, I'm hoping for the best with DK3. Happy New Year, everyone.

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4.0
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #8

Mar 29, 2017

I won't give up hope for this book. The bones of something good are here. I want the team to come together and deliver a solid conclusion.

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9.0
Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade #1

Jun 15, 2016

I'm a sucker for a Batman and Robin story. The entire concept of legacy is what draws me into the DC Universe. Most of the time the protg is the heir apparent of the main hero, but in rare occasions they aren't a good fit. This book studies that relationship, that of the mentor who knows their protg is headed down a dark path.

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8.0
Flash (2016) #21

Apr 28, 2017

I needed this issue. While covering a story with an inherent gravity, this issue reminded me of how fun comics can be. I still cant wait to see whats coming next.

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8.0
Flash (2016) #22

May 19, 2017

Theres a lot to this story, and Ive barely scratched the surface. Im looking forward to giving this one multiple reads in the future, and isnt that one of the greatest compliments we can give?

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4.0
Justice League of America (2017) #13

Sep 1, 2017

Were now eight months into Orlandos run on JLA and just now touching on one of the plot points from way back in DC Universe Rebirth. I wish I could say the payoff was worth the wait, but we seem to just be building on a foundation of mediocrity. Orlandos one-shots from January had promise, if nothing else, but the size of the cast seems to weigh down the story-telling. This story will be going on through the end of October, which is fairly long for a Rebirth title. That gives them plenty of time to bring it back together after a somewhat rocky start.

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6.0
Justice League of America (2017) #14

Sep 15, 2017

Were getting some momentum, which I like. Ray Palmer is finally back in the DC Universe, which I like. He made some small appearances in various titles here and there, but he has been largely absent throughout the New 52. Im slightly irritated that its taken us nearly 16 months to get some insight into the character tease from May 2016s DC Universe Rebirth, but Im trying to not hold that against the team on this book. This issue was a step in the right direction after last issues somewhat dud of a story. Im looking forward to some more Ray Palmer in my life.

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8.0
Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #4

Jan 13, 2017

Fernando Pasarin and Matt Ryan (not that Matt Ryan) handle the art duties for this installment, and do a solid job. This is a very large, very detailed issue but they keep everything clean and presentable, if not a little bland. They could have easily found themselves bogged down by the scope of everything, but their approach saves the issue from being a quagmire. Solid work on both the writing and artistic side of things keeps everything in order and makes for an enjoyable experience. Thats really the best that can be said for an event of this caliber. Im looking forward to the next issue and whats next to come in Rebirth. Im not even bummed that Ill have to start picking up Supergirl to get my Legion of Super-Heroes fix.

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8.0
Titans (2016) #9

Mar 10, 2017

As things continue to heat up for the Titans, Im looking forward to seeing what this book brings. The team has been consistent and given us a book that continually outdoes itself. Im hoping they can keep this pace up and keep the group together for some time to come.

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8.0
Titans (2016) #10

Apr 14, 2017

This is a heartfelt thank you to Dan, Brett, Norm, and Andrew. Titans makes me feel like a kid again in the greatest way.

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