Thursday, May 26, 2005

Batman: War Games Volume I

Can anyone say "padded"? I know you can. Let's all say it together... PADDED! My biggest pet peeve with modern comics is the feeling that stories are getting drawn out more and more for no other reason than it's the thing to do. Marvel has been the most guilty party as of late with their making every story arc 6 issues so it'll fit in a trade, but DC has also been responsible for their fair share of unnecessary decompression, with this first installment of the three volume War Games uber-story being one example.

There really isn't a lot that goes on in the 200+ pages of this trade. The heads of all the gangs in Gotham get together, it hits the fan, a gang war starts, Batman and his cadre of heroes must take on the gangs, there's lots of fighting, a tiny bit of character development, and tons of boring. That's about it.

Almost every fight and close to every conversation felt unneeded and added just to make sure that each Bat-title would be touched by the cross-over so as to boost sales. The entirety of this volume could probably have been well told in about half the length and felt much more action packed by doing so.

What's worse is that since this is a three act story, this chapter ends quite abruptly with not even so much as a small sense of accomplishment after the events that transpired. Instead it just ends. If I would have known they were going to do that, I would have waited until all three volumes had come out to start reading because now I have to wait a good chunk of time before volume II is released and volume III hasn't even been solicited yet.

There are a few good things about this volume, but not many. It is nice to see all of the characters in the Batman line of titles work together on a common problem, but often the chemistry doesn't feel quite right. The action sequences are often decently illustrated so if you like countless panels of superheroes kicking and punching bad guys, then by all means pick up this volume, but if you want something more for your fifteen bucks then put this thing back on the bookshelf.

Art: 2.5
Story: 2
Overall: 2

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