Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BATMAN #514 - January 1995

One Night in the War Zone
Credits:  Doug Moench (writer), Ron Wagner (penciler), Joe Rubenstein (inker), Ken Bruzenak (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)

Summary:  Robin provides Batman with a list of the three worst offenders released during Two-Face’s scheme: Strake, McCone, and Cheung.  Strake targets his former partner in the drug trade, McCone invades the home of the man who testified against him, and Cheung searches for people who cheated him out of gambling profits.  All three are located in Battergate, an area of Gotham nicknamed “the war zone.”  One by one, Batman locates the fugitives and incapacitates them.  Sirens continue to blare after he’s finished, reminding him that Batman’s work is never done.

Irrelevant Continuity:  I thought the worst neighborhood in Gotham was supposed to be called “the Hub,” as seen in the earlier chapters of this crossover?

Review:  The emotional hook for this issue is Dick Grayson’s struggle to truly become Batman, a job he knows he isn’t suited for and doesn’t expect to keep for much longer.  This would seem to be a better avenue to explore than the previous arc’s relentless pushing of Two-Face as Dick Grayson’s personal boogey man, but the story doesn’t really make being Batman seem like such a bad job.  There are no moral quandaries, nor are any of the fugitives pursued by Dick particularly challenging threats.  On the bright side, the issue has solid artwork by Ron Wagner, and there’s more than enough action to distract from Dick’s half-baked character crisis.  Judged mainly as a one-issue action story, this is fairly entertaining.

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