On Man-Bat #1 and Manhunter #21

Man-Bat #1 of 5
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Mike Huddleston
Publisher: DC Comics

“Man-Bat: The Return”, part 1 of 5

Story: This story is a re-introduction of the Man-Bat to the DCU proper. As I am not a big DC reader I personally don’t know how long it has been since he’s gone missing. If this story is any indication of what he’s been up to, it hasn’t been good. A killer is on the loose in Honesdale, a community just outside ofGotham. It is strongly hinted that Dr. Kirk Langstrom is the culprit but it is still too early to be sure. Batman is inadvertently drawn into the mystery along with two of his quietest foes. The story starts out strong and since the series itself is only five issues I don’t foresee a long drawn out mystery from Jones. 7 of 10

Art: I don’t seem to recall anything in recent memory that I picked up that had the art of Huddleston. The art is perfectly suited to the content of the story and the different layouts through the course of the book only seem to enhance the overall quality. Using the simplest of lines, Huddleston is able to convey quite a few emotions without ever drawing the reader away from the story. 7 of 10

Final Analysis. This was a good start to a mini-series. By using a horror movie approach, Bruce Jones is able to tell his story in a slow and deliberately paced manner in order to draw the reader into the events as they are happening. By hinting at the ongoing terror by hiding elements of the Man-Bat, Mike Huddleston is a perfect compliment with his effective art. All this, Batman and two “silent” villains leaves me intrigued for the possibilities to come. 7 of 10

Manhunter #21
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Javier Pina (layouts) / Fernando Blanco (finishes)
Publisher: DC Comics

“Psychobabble, Part 2: Mind Over Morals”

Story: Dr. Psycho is on trial for another of his heinous crimes, this one involves 23 average people doing something completely out of the ordinary. It is up to Kate Spencer, our current Manhunter, to defend him. While Kate defends Dr. Psycho we take a tour of a few L.A. area “hot spots” where some very strange and gruesome activities are taking place. Eventually, Kate confronts Dr. Mid-Nite. 10 of 10

Art. Pina and Blanco make a perfect art team. The finished looks of the pages are well done, although sometimes the characters come off a little stiff at times. The artists are especially adept at capturing perfectly terrifying moments both emotionally and violently to great effect. Dr. Psycho has never looked more, well, psycho. 8 of 10

Final Analysis. I did not expect to enjoy this title. After reading this issue, I went back and picked up issue #20 and paid over cover price… for a DC book. I have never done that, ever. It was all well worth it. This is a truly amazing story, one where our hero never even makes an in-costume appearance. The art was rich and nicely detailed. This books has it all, a solid package. 9 of 10

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