Tuesday, August 20, 2002

ANOTHER BATMAN: BLINK REVIEW

From four-color review:

Batman: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #156

Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Pencils: Val Semeiks
Inks: Dan Green
Colors: James Sinclair
PublisherDC Comics
Price: $2.25



 

This Review Contains Spoilers

Batman: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT stands out among the Batman family of titles since it's the only title that isn't strictly tied to contemporary continuity. Sure, it gets roped into the REALLY big crossovers, like "No Man's Land", from time to time, but for most of its 12 years on the stands the book has been concerned with telling self-contained (starting and ending in the title) stories typically made up of short arcs of three or four issues. This format has benefits as well as drawbacks for the title. For some readers, being to pick up and read short arcs is appealing, but others prefer an ongoing continuity. In addition, the format of the title might mean that one story might be of great interest to a given reader while the next story, or creative team, might not be as much to their personal tastes.

 

I'll have to admit that there was a period of time where I felt that LOTDK was becoming a bit hit or miss both in subject matter and creative teams, that perhaps the title was becoming a little tired. However, I'm happy to report that by all recent indicators it seems this title is alive and well. The last three arcs have been strong and the arc that was just completed last issue "Grimm" (by DeMatteis and Von Eeden) was one of my favorite in years.

 

Issue 156, "Blink" (part 1 of 3) continues the rally and keeps the pulse quick. Dwayne McDuffie (co-founder of the Milestone imprint, creator of Static, Icon, and Hardware - he's worked on most of the major characters from the 'big two') and Val Semeiks (THE DEMON, DC 1,000,000, DC 2000, more comics than you can list) make a bang-up creative team for this issue. McDuffie's story is interesting and compelling and Semeiks pencils are clean, atmospheric, and moody - just what a Batman comic should look like in my opinion.

 

"Blink" is a good old fashioned noir detective yarn with a twist. The main character, who becomes a suspect in a murder case, is blind. However, he has a special ability. When he touches someone, he can see through their eyes. He's used this ability for years as a graft, stealing people's bank account numbers and emptying their bank accounts. However, over the course of plying his trade he sees something that he's not supposed to see - something that puts him directly in the path of The Batman!

 

Whether you're a continuity fan or not it's great to see Batman and Commissioner Gordon working a crime scene together again - even if it is in the past, but once we get past the initial investigation, Batman slides into the background and the darkness - a place where he's very effective in this type of story. Through Blink's "eyes" we get to see things unfold both from the killer's perspective and from Batman's. I thought that this was a pretty ginchy way to tie things together and a pretty unique device to boot. As you would expect since this is the first of three issues, things are left pretty much in disarray at the conclusion. Blink may be a thief, but it doesn't appear he's a murder even though the evidence leads the police to believe otherwise. Meanwhile, the Batman has to stop the real killers and figure out what the motivation for these murders is. Then, there's the little factor of if Batman proves Blink's innocence will he become privy to his real crimes?

 

This is the kind of Batman story that I really enjoy. Tightly woven with twists and turns and a Batman who's both a detective and an adventurer (though I don't mind when he leans toward one more than the other Batman's balance is part of what makes him one of the most effective heroes in comics). It's great to see that LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT is a book to look forward to every month again and McDuffie and Semeiks are continuing the tradition. What the blind man saw? We'll have to wait to find out.