REVIEW: ‘The Batman’s Grave,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Batman's Grave #4

The Batman’s Grave #4 is a 12-issue series published by DC Comics, written by Warren Ellis, with pencils and inks by Bryan Hitch, colors by Alex Sinclair, and letters by Richard Starkings. Previously, Batman search Turton’s home but was attacked by a mysterious intruder. Now, Batman continues his investigation. After infiltrating the home of Dr. Hellfern, and beating up a few criminals along the way, Batman interrogates the man about his involvement in Turton’s death.

Honestly, The Batman’s Grave #4 feels like a filler issue. Plot-wise, almost nothing happens outside of the Batman visiting Dr. Hellfern. However, the confrontation doesn’t lead to much nor does it end on a cliff-hanger. Narratively speaking, the issue isn’t bad but it is overall, just plain boring.

However, the hardest part about reading The Batman’s Grave #4 is the lettering. While easy enough to follow narratively speaking, Starkings made the decision to not use all caps in the dialogue. The thin font with the varying letter heights of the mixed case threw me right out of the story. Traditionally, outside of specialized fonts made for artistic purposes, comic lettering is always done in uppercase font, all caps, because it is easier to read. The lettering in The Batman’s Grave #4 doesn’t appear to be an artistic choice. The font isn’t conveying a feeling and the entire comic is lettered this way. While previous issues have used the mixed case, this issue seems to stand out because of how thin the font itself is. It makes the dialogue difficult to read against Sinclair’s beautifully colored panels.

The Batman's Grave #4

The best panels of this comic feature no lettering and let Sinclair’s colors shine. But as beautiful and bright as Sinclair’s colors are, adding vibrancy to the dark settings of the issue, Hitch’s art is underwhelming. The faces just feel off. Bruce’s nose often looks crooked and no one seems to have the ability to emote anything other than boredom. That being said, Hitch excels at action scenes and the moments where Bruce is flying through the air as the Dark Knight, booting men in the face are delightful.

Overall, this is by far the weakest issue of the series yet and a lot of that is in part due to the egregious lettering. Lettering can make or break a book. Similar to art if the lettering is bad, no matter how great the narrative is, it can take a reader out of the story and ruin the comic for them. Unfortunately for The Batman’s Grave #4, the narrative itself isn’t much better. Overall, this miniseries had an impressive first issue but has yet to meet that potential again.

The Batman’s Grave #4 is available now in comic book stores everywhere and online.

The Batman's Grave #4
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TL;DR

Similar to art if the lettering is bad, no matter how great the narrative is, it can take a reader out of the story and ruin the comic for them. Unfortunately for The Batman’s Grave #4, the narrative itself isn’t much better. Overall, this miniseries had an impressive first issue but has yet to meet that potential again.