By Kryptonian Detective
Tony Daniel returns to the “Batman” title with the story titled See No Evil. Bruce Wayne has returned from “death,” and appoints Dick Grayson as the Batman of Gotham City before traveling abroad to head up Batman Incorporated. Shortly after his departure, a brother and sister duo representing the Tang Lo Foundation arrives in Gotham proposing a business deal with Wayne Enterprises for the restoration of Crime Alley and the surrounding areas. When the woman’s brother Luki is kidnapped by Sensei, Batman realizes that he is caught in a long-standing conflict between Sensei and the Jade Compass Society a secret brother hood, over the mask of the beholder. This ancient totem holds great power. Sensei has taken Luki because of his telepathic abilities in the hopes of finding the mask. Batman, Luki’s sister, who is the vigilante known as Peacock, and I – Ching a blind master of the martial arts, team up to find Luki and stop Sensei from retrieving the mask. Things get complicated when Sensei takes Lucius Fox and his daughter hostage, because of Lucius’ fathers connection to the brotherhood. The final confrontation takes place in the Gotham Archives Library, where Sensei finds the mask hidden in a statue of Thomas Wayne. It is revealed that Luki is the true successor of the Mask of the Beholder. Enraged, Sensei slices the mask in half, before being brought down by Batman. The story ends with Sensei disappearing with half of the mask, while Luki entrusts Batman with the other half.
I thought that the “Batman” title with Dick Grayson as the title character wouldn’t succeed because it wasn’t Bruce Wayne. With this story, I was wrong. It failed because it was an awful story. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like a Batman story. It feels like a cross between a Daredevil comic book mixed with the David Carradine television series Kung Fu. The story basically conformed to the stereotypes of Chinese and Martial Arts culture, and not in a positive light. It doesn’t get more cliché than mystical dark magic, and a centuries old ancient master, hell-bent on obtaining said power for nefarious purposes. The worst of it all, is that these characters inclusion are so random, that it is virtually impossible to care about them or their circumstances. Speaking of random, what was the point of The Riddler attacking Batman mid-way through the story? Furthermore, does everyone in Gotham need a sidekick? We have Catgirl, who is obviously Catwoman’s apprentice, and now The Riddler’s daughter, who goes by the name of Enigma. Either I’ve been transported back in time to the period when comics were forced to have sidekicks to be more kid friendly, or this is just lazy story telling.
I am a fan of Tony Daniel, but his art for these issues was below his standard in my opinion. Starting with the image of both Batmen on the same page, Bruce Wayne’s new Bat – costume looks like an adult Batman onesie. Next was his depiction of Sensei, and some of the Chinese characters. It’s so stereotypical, it’s laughable, again, not in a good way. Sensei looks like Fu Manchu. Then there’s The Riddler, who has looked pretty consistent in the last seven years that I’ve been reading this title. Here, The Riddler looks like a cross between WWE’s The Undertaker, and Boy George. Weird is the best word to describe it. 100 issues of “Batman” have been published since I’ve started reading the title with issue # 608. “Hush” was the high point of the title for me, while “See No Evil” was the lowest point of the series. If I wasn’t such a completest with my comic book collecting, and a hardcore Batman fan, I would have dropped the title long ago.