Graphic Novel/Comics Review

Batman/Ra's al Ghul

(2006) Devin Grayson, Paul Gulacy and Jimmy Palmiotti, Titan Books, 6.99, trdpbk, 104pp, ISBN 1-84576-254-1


I have to say, right from the outset, that the only reason for having this is the Paul Gulacy art (for someone who has been working so long in the field, I still think he is an under-used and often under-appreciated artist). As for the story... Gotham suffers a plague of zombies, neatly cashing in on the success of Shaun of the Dead and the awful re-make of Dawn of the Dead, not to mention the then forthcoming (as the original two-issue series was published) Land of the Dead from George Romero, who shows how it should be done! Anyway, being mainstream superhero comics' zombies (as opposed to nasty, vicious Deadworld zombies) the threat from the dead seems largely confined to their smell, but you can't have that. Luckily Batman receives a posthumous letter from Ra's al Ghul explaining the whole thing (rather flimsily in plot terms). It seems that Batman destroying all of the ex-villain's Lazarus Pits has upset the balance of the Earth (for no discernable reason) and that to correct matters Batman must recreate at least one Pit ('cos that'll help, right?), and to do that he must rediscover the secret formula (ask the Colonel!). All this spurious crap is wrapped up in an eco-message resembling a blunt object with which to smash the audience round the head. Given a large part of that audience is made up of the filthy, polluting, global-warming-denying Americans, perhaps that's a good thing but, for the rest of us, who don't have our balls in the oil companies' vice, who've actually been trying (if so far with little real success) to address the problem(s), this is all a bit old hat. ((Apologies to all my lovely American friends and the, I'm sure, many many lovely other Americans, especially the humorous souls who apologised over the internet following Dubya's last election 'victory', but so long as your Administration(s) continue to react to your country's energy insecurity with wasteful, profligate, business-as-usual, polluting, global warming use of energy, not to mention ill-conceived foreign ventures with oil in mind, then you'll continue to attract criticism and bad comics writing - I'm not sure which is worse...))

Tony Chester

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