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By: Adam Basciano

“Trapped far beneath Gotham City and hunted by the Talon – the Court of Owls’ unstoppable killer – Batman lies bleeding and broken. With no way out and no one to help, is this the end for The Dark Knight?” (DC Comics)

This is by far the worst issue of Scott Snyder’s Batman run thus far.  There’s not much to this story at all.  It reads and is, an overlong fight sequence and not much else.  Batman gets his ass handed to him for 2/3 of the issue before he fights back and beats the Talon to a pulp.  This issue is like a wrestling match from my youth, featuring Hulk Hogan.  He’s getting beat but suddenly hulk’s out and fights back.  If this was a wrestling match though, instead of a victory it would be a double count-out as both Batman and the Talon end up the loser.  Put it this way, if you’ve read the “Knightfall” saga, you can skip this issue. You’ve read it before, and it was done better the first time around.

The disappointment continues with the art.  Last issue Greg Capullo used that purposeful “ugliness” to his advantage by contrasting it with his typical style.  Prolonged exposure to that purposefully “ugly” (I don’t know how else to describe it) art, makes this the most visually disappointing ongoing issue of Batman I’ve read since I restarted reading in 2003.  Imagine Frank Miller’s art in “The Dark Knight Strikes Again”, mixed with Batman drawn by Sam Keith and you get this.  Is it the worst art I’ve ever seen in a single issue? No, that distinction is reserved for anything drawn by Rob Liefeld.  Still, the art in this issue was more than underwhelming.

My disappointment with this issue is equal to the disappointment I felt when I discovered Santa Claus wasn’t real.  This issue is a substantial drop in quality, more so when you look back at the great work both Snyder and Capullo have delivered in the previous installments.  This issue is the quintessential example of filler.  It’s nothing more than a place holder for what’s to come.  Knowing that what’s to come is the “Night of Owls” crossover, provides optimism after the waste of time and money that this issue turned out to be.

Overall Grade: 2/10