Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #3 is published by DC Comics, written, drawn, inked and colored by Neal Adams with letters by Clem Robbins. With the disparate threads of Ra’s al Ghul’s plot progressing, Batman must find a way to escape his inter-dimensional prison before all is lost. But, all is not as it seems in the Batcave.
There are some aspects of comic books that we take for granted. A certain level of consistency in a long-established character is one of the biggest examples of this. Without even seeing Batman I would expect to know him simply by his dialogue. Batman is a character steeped in 80 years of lore. Barring Else World stories, his personality should be more or less a given. When this most fundamental of rules is broken, it can be extremely jarring. Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #3 proves this on every panel.
I will admit my knowledge of Batman is not all-inclusive, but I’ve read my fair share. Never have I heard him utter phrases like “damn skippy” or refer to himself as “a thirsty sojourner in need of a drought”. Batman’s personality bounces between a roguish hero to snide jerk throughout this issue. All this while the whole time failing to ever sound like Batman.
This lack of attention to character follows into Bruce’s oldest sidekick Dick Grayson. Dick feels nothing like the confident and intelligent character that stands in my top five DC heroes. The only way this portrayal of the character could have been worse would be if they called him Ric. The art of Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #3 only further feeds into my sense of disorientation in this book. This is highlighted in a particular scene in the Batcave.
The scene is populated by Bruce Wayne, Alfred, Dick Grayson, and two other individuals. I say individuals because I’m not entirely certain who they are. While I assume they are Damian Wayne and Tim Drake, I can’t say for sure. They look so much alike and so similar to Grayson that either of them could be swapped with the other. One even refers to himself as Robin at one point, but that only makes me slightly more confident of which is which.
Beyond this confusing scene of nondescript bat-children, the art is mostly passable. The panels can mostly be interpreted with no great difficulty. While some of the costume designs feel a bit too pulp for a Batman book to me, I can’t really call them bad. Just not to my personal liking.
When all is said and done I cannot recommend Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #3 to anyone. It’s writing is poor and the art does it no great favors either. With a rich history of stories to inspire and draw from, I cannot fathom how this is what has come of Batman. I sincerely hope that Adams can take the coming issues and bring this story back around.
Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #3 is available November 27th wherever Comics are sold and online at ComiXology through our affiliate link.
Rating: 1/5 Dark Knights falling
Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #3
When all is said and done I cannot recommend Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #3 to anyone. It’s writing is poor and the art does it no great favors either.