REVIEW: ‘Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #1 is a six-issue mini-series, that is part of the Year of the Villain crossover event, published by DC Comics, written, illustrated, and colored by Neal Adams, with letters by Clem Robins. The book opens with Gotham in absolute chaos as Batman fights his way through terrorists that have overrun the city following all of the criminals in Arkham Asylum escaping. While trying to stop the ongoing horrors and terrorists who are led by an inhuman monster, Batman faces off against a paramilitary group who is less merciful than him when it comes to detaining criminals.

However, as Batman and the GCPD struggle to get the city back in order, Ra’s al Ghul volunteers his own private security force, the paramilitary group Batman was previously fighting, in hopes of stopping nuclear terror. But Batman knows better than to trust al Ghul.

Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #1 borrows a lot of elements from comics that were produced in the 1990s; from Adams artwork to the generic bad guys Batman pummels while the city collapses in chaos. However, a lot of these elements should have been left in the decade they are borrowed from. The issue starts with Batman nearly killing a dog and while I am happy to report the animal is fine, it is a jarring way to open a comic book. At one point, Deadman is in shock at the state of Gotham City, commenting it “looks like a war-torn Middle Eastern country.” The comment itself in today’s political climate is a bit dense, all things considered. A lot of the explosions, violence, and chaos of the city don’t seem to serve a point as much they exist for shock value.

Additionally, the book moves at a lightning-fast pace. Reading this issue is like starting a Fast and Furious movie in the middle of its runtime, effectively missing the entire set-up to the plot. All of the exposition and world-building are done through a TV anchor who is reporting on the action as it occurs with an omnipresent view only God, or Caesar Flickerman from The Hunger Games, could possibly have.

Outside of the bizarre narrative, Adams’s art just does not quite hit the spot or capture the magic it used to. A lot of panels feel rushed and the linework in places is shaky.  It is clear Robins struggled to letter this book and a lot of that is because the art is just not well designed for letter bubbles. The pages feel cluttered and the overall aesthetic is clunky with panel designs that are difficult to follow.  This is added to by the fact there is no cohesive color palette.

Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #1 feels like a bad action movie that attempts to cash-in on the post-9/11 fear of terrorism while keeping the aesthetics of one of the worst decades in comics. If you are looking for a better version of that, read Batman: No Man’s Land.

Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Batman vs Ra's al Ghul #1
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TL;DR

Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #1 feels like a bad action movie that attempts to cash-in on the post-9/11 fear of terrorism while keeping the aesthetics of one of the worst decades in comics. If you are looking for a better version of that, read Batman: No Man’s Land.

1 Comment on “REVIEW: ‘Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul,’ Issue #1”

  1. Wow, is the reviewer female judging by her name? That would explain silliness of this review.

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