Editor’s Note: Spoilers and the ramblings of a madman ahead.
(w) Brian Michael Bendis (a) Nick Derington (c) Dave Stewart
Have you ever read a comic you couldn’t put down? Once you finished it you were absolutely pissed off because you wanted more of it projected directly into your brain? An issue so good that your mad you have to put it down and wait a month? Or have you loved a comic so much you sent a tweet to the creators? Even when you hate tweeting creators? An issue that was so amazing to you that you feel there may be no way to express your love? Well that’s what Batman Universe #2 is to me.
I could easily leave this review at, “Batman Universe #2 is the second issue in what may end up being one of the best Batman comics we’ve seen in years.” Yeah, that would be easy. Hell, I said just about that for the first issue (here). However, you’re not here for a quick, one tweet review. You are here for a full-on, long-form review of Brian Michael Bendis, Nick Derington, and Dave Stewart’s Batman Universe #2. If I could, this post’s title would read as “Review: Batman Universe #2 Is Fucking Fantastically Funomenal!” For obvious reasons, that wouldn’t be allowed as a title because of some choice words (Editor’s Note: Not exactly true) . And yes, “funomenal” is a real word (Also Editor’s Note: It’s not – Urban Dictionary doesn’t count).
I would love to sit here and write words upon words on why this issue is great but that may take forever. You know what, fuck it, if the EiC is cool with it I’ll go a little batty for the Bat and let it all flow. Flow, like the great flow in this issue. Grab a beer (or whatever is your libation of choice), sit down, and turn on your text-to-speech because this may be a long one kids. Welcome to my Bat-Talk.
Batman has been seen as many things through his 80 years: campy, dark, edgy, indifferent, dead, missing in time, father figure, legend, demon, Bat-God, Alien, lonely, and many more. Bendis is able to make Batman seem fresh yet have all of his best qualities throughout the years in one fantastic bundle. Like many fans, I’ve loved the Dark Knight through a multitude of incarnations, through the bad and the good. Personally my favorite has always been Grant Morrison’s Bat-God, but that may change by the end of Batman Universe. Bendis keeps Batman’s preparedness and skills that kills (figuratively) while not making him overpowered, just a peak perfect human.
Before going any further, just a quick recap of events. Don’t get mad, you were warned about spoilers. Batman Universe #2 has one of the best opening sequences in any of the DC’s recent comics, consisting of Green Arrow and Batman towering above a bloody and bruised Riddler. Bendis’ dialogue mixed with Derington’s pencils quickly grabs you hostage while telling you to sit down, shut up and read the damn book. With the ‘egg’ in Riddler’s possession he’s feeling a little batty (sorry), it doesn’t help he had his skull rattled by our heroes.
This causes him to start a riddle which in turn becomes a tirade about Batman’s beating throughout the years and just how it haunts him. I mean, he does have a point. I suspect most villains of Batman (and other heroes) of more than a few head problems. This moments greatness is amplified by Green Arrows deadpan rebuttal. Derington’s art is fantastic throughout, but with the close up of Riddler and his broken nose the colors by Stewart make you wince in how gnarly it looks.
During the chase for the escaped Riddler Green Arrow’s and Batman’s back and forth is spot on making me long for a Brave and The Bold from Bendis and Derington. Green Arrow falls for Riddler’s trap (Batman wouldn’t have fallen for it) becoming poisoned, thus launching an attack on the Dark Knight. Through this fight Derington draws a simple panel-to-panel fight that’s easy to follow yet beautiful to look at with the help Stewart’s colors changing from dark to light. Batman wins, but being a good friend, he tells Green Arrow that he won. Such a nice friend.
Following the Riddler’s escape we learn just who is behind stealing the egg; Vandal Savage, who has a redesign that actually looks pretty cool. Batman tracks the Riddler to the super hard to find Gorilla City. You know, that one place that is supposedly hard to find, yet visited constantly and supposedly hard to sneak into. Yeah, that place, but screw it, he is the Goddamn Batman! Well he does it caught, but impresses one of the Gorilla citizens, who seemed excited to meet him. Talking to King NNamdi Batman is able to retrieve the egg from a sleeping Riddler, which in turn transports Batman to Thanagar. Take this with a grain of salt dear readers, but I think that’s where the “Universe” in Batman Universe comes in.
Does that sound fantastic or fucking what? Okay, throughout this I’ve used what some would say ‘adult’ language, which I usually don’t, but once you have this perfect second issue in your hands you will never put it down until your loved ones pry your hands away pleading with you to go to work. If you can’t get even the slightest amount of enjoyment from the first two issues of Batman Universe I ask, what’s wrong? Is everything okay? Maybe some Batman Universe will help!
It has always been a debatable point of which Batman run is the best, well that life long question may have been answered. If Bendis and team keep this quality (why wouldn’t they?) than Batman Universe will end as the definitive Batman story. Mark my words, this series will go down in history and every time they re-release it I will buy no matter what. As Batman himself said in All Star Batman and Robin, “What are you, dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? Batman Universe #2 is the best goddamn Batman second issue!” Okay, maybe that’s not verbatim, but that’s damn well what he should have said.
Memorable Quote: “Let the Riddler be the Riddler, Arrow. He works hard on these.” -Batman
This issue was littered with amazing quotes, but this sequence was perfect in every aspect.
Side Note: Seriously, why are you still here? GO READ IT…. Please.