REVIEW: ‘Batman Black and White,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman Black and White #4

Batman Black and White #4 is published by DC Comics, written by Joshua Williamson, Karl Kerschl, Chip Zdarsky, Daniel Warren Johnson, and Becky Cloonan, art by Jen Bartel, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, Daniel Warren Johnson, Nick Bradshaw, Karl Kerschl, Simone Di Meo, and Riley Rossmo, with letters by Deron Bennett, Steve Wands, Aditya Bidikar, Rus Wooton and Becca Carey.

While the last issue of Batman Black and White explored alternative versions of the Caped Crusader, this month’s anthology of stories returns its gaze to the iconic version. With five new stories to tell, Batman Black and White #4 brings more quality to this series.

From its opening story that has a real bat aiding our hero’s battle against crime, this book certainly looks to deliver some uniqueness of its own. With each story, we get something off the beaten path. Whether it’s the situation Batman finds himself in, the approach of his opponent, or the time in his career, every story here has something that keeps it from being just another Batman tale. That having been said, my favorite story in Batman Black and White #4 is the one that feels most like a run-of-the-mill Batman story. Or it would have, until a couple of years ago.

Checkmate, written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson, and letters by Rus Wooton, sees Batman a captive of some of Two Face’s goons. As they give him a serious pummeling, Bruce’s mind goes back to some of the earliest lessons Alfred taught him about strategy and chess. I’ve always been a huge fan of Batman’s oldest ally, and his presence has been greatly missed. This highlighting of Alfred’s impact on Bruce, and how much of a force he was in what Bruce would one day become, was a lovely surprise.

One last thing that stood out in this story is the lettering. Wooton does a great job delivering the tone of this story. Some of the sound effect types hit perfectly, adding the extra punch certain moments require.

The other story I want to take a moment to talk about is The Fool’s Journey. Written by Becky Cloonan, art by Terry and Rachel Dodson, with letters by Becca Carey. This story sees the World’s Greatest Detective puzzling out a classic whodunit at a carnival. While more straightforward than the other pieces that fill this book, it has a heartfelt nature to it that made it stand out to me. Coupled with the eye-catching art of the Dodsons, this story was a lock for the best of the bunch.

While these two stood ahead of the pack for me, everything Batman Black and White #4 delivers hits wonderfully. From a unique encounter with Poison Ivy outside Wayne Manor to a haunting that sees Batman confronted by the ghosts of the past, every story delivers solidly in the storytelling department.

The art in this anthology mostly lands true. While none of it is bad in and of itself, there is a story whose visuals don’t work with the rest of this book’s presentation. That small blip aside, all the art here works great with both its own story, as well as with the collective whole.

The final strong element to this book is the letter work. In addition to the above mention, the letter work as a whole is clean and delivers each of the book’s stories well. A couple of times it goes a bit further to add a bit of extra style to the dialogue, which is always appreciated.

Taking it all in, Batman Black and White #4 brings readers another strong set of tales of the Dark Knight. Seeing many of the industries most notable giving their short takes on the Caped Crusader continues to be an enjoyable experience.

Batman Black and White #4 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Batman Black and White #4
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Tl;DR

Taking it all in, Batman Black and White #4 brings readers another strong set of tales of the Dark Knight. Seeing many of the industries most notable giving their short takes on the Caped Crusader continues to be an enjoyable experience.