Monday, 22 June 2009

Monday Mini Reviews – 22/06/2009

Batman: Streets of Gotham # 1
– 4 out of 5

Ill just come out and say it first, yes surprisingly this is best Bat book so far of the 'Batman: Reborn' line. I can hear the Paul Dini fans laughing and yelling ‘I told you so’ and they would be right. Like most people I think I was most excited about Morrison’s Batman & Robin #1, which was good, and I’m looking forward to where that is going but Streets of Gotham for me has topped that for an issue no. 1 and setting up my excitement for the series.

Firstly this issue had a big cast, between Gordon, Harley Quinn, Firefly & Batman & Robin, each of these characters were touched on and written perfectly. The art and coloring is fantastically dark & gritty, which is what I want in a Bat book, and while being… I hate the word but cartoony, it still retains an edge.

The story picks up pieces from Battle for the Cowl, with the mention of Black Mask, the Arkham break out, city in ruins etc etc and takes lead from there. Firefly is the bad guy to watch in this issue. What he does is totally evil and shocking and is how a Bat villain should act. The way this book is written by Dini reminds me of Alan Grants great work on Shadow for the Bat and some of the early 90’s Detective Comics and Batman issues, i.e. street level grit, new villain of the week, while still dealing with Gotham cities residence personal struggles, and I love that.

It was totally unexpected that I liked this issue as much as I did as I didn’t really care for Dini’s recent work on Detective Comics. It was okay but I never liked the cast of characters he used and the types of stories that were told. This book in a way is a continuation of Detective but with a new cast that will hopefully be continuing the style of the old school story lines. If it does continue in this manner I’m on board.

With regards to the Manhunter back up, I can’t comment on it that much yet. It was only about 10 pages and pretty much just setting up the main character moving to Gotham. We will see where this goes but I’m not going to complain at some extra pages in my comic.

X-Men: Origins; Gambit
– 3 out of 5

This was pretty much only going to be bought by die-hard Gambit fans, and I knew that, but if that is the case then at least give us something new please, not just a collection of all the stories we know squeezed into one issue. This should have been a mini series, and the origin could have been explored in much greater detail with more of a chance to get to know Gambit as a character.

The time line for this issue is basically from Gambits marriage to Belladona up to where he meets and saves a young Ororo, but not too much in between. We basically have Gambits meeting with Sinister & the Marauders Massacre. If you know the history of Remy like me this is fine, but if you were a new reader you may well get lost.

The art by David Yardin is absolutely gorgeous and the highlight of the issue. The writing work by Mike Carey is solid but one thing that does grate on me when he writes Gambit is that every other sentence is said in French!! Now hear me out, I know Gambit grew up in the French quarter of New Orleans but we read in English and I don’t buy a comic to not understand what I’m reading. Now I have this beef with Carey as he writes WHOLE sentences in French, I have been a Gambit fan since his creation and from what I remember other writers would throw in a ‘chere’or a ‘mon ami’ from time to time, which is fine as these are obvious words that most people know which give the character an identity and personality, but not whole sentences please.

Anyway, rant over. Average story, beautiful art, but for die-hard fans only.


  1. Heh-heh, it sounds like Mike Carey wants EVERYBODY to know he can write in French! After reading what you had to say, I'm glad I passed on the Gambit book. Although I really do like the character as well, I don't need a book rehashing stuff we already know.

    I wasn't planning on picking up Batman: Streets, but your words have moved me to at least give it a shot. Good reviews Matthew.