With Batman and the Mad Monk #6, Matt Wagner concludes his 12-issue Batman project that spanned two interconnected limited series. They have been twelve of the most enjoyable Batman stories that I have read in a long time.
Wagnerís work has been carefully plotted, and his illustrations have depicted a continuity of action from one panel to the nextóa feat that is rarely accomplished by many comic book illustrators these days. The characterization of Batman early in his career (essentially Year One) has been spot on and even includes dialogue that alludes to Frank Millerís Batman: Year One in this final issue.
In the original appearance of The Monk and Dala in Detective Comics #31 and #32 in 1939, Batman ended the existence of these vampires by shooting them with silver bullets. In this contemporary version, Batman fashioned batarangs out of silver that didnít kill the vampires, but stopped them from killing Julie Madison.
I donít necessarily agree with the changes that Wagner has made from the original story since they donít seem to serve a purpose other than making the characters more politically correct for a contemporary audienceói.e., Batman doesnít kill and Julie Madison is a law student with a social conscience (she joins the Peace Corps at the end because she canít continue her relationship with Bruce Wayne after learning that heís The Batman).
However, despite my qualms, I thoroughly enjoyed Wagnerís twelve issues more than Iíve enjoyed any Batman stories in the past twenty years. I hope he has more in him.
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