REVIEW: ‘Batman Black and White,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman Black and White #5

Batman Black and White #5 is published by DC Comics, written by Jorge Jimenez, Lee Weeks, Mariko Tamaki, Kieron Gillen, and Jamal Campbell, art by James Stokoe, Jorge Jimenez, Lee Weeks, Emanuela Lupacchino, Wade von Grawbadger, Jamie McKelvie, Jamal Campbel, and Amy Reeder, with letters by Rob Leigh, Clayton Cowles, Ariana Maher, and Deron Bennett.

This month’s collection of monotone stories takes the focus off of the Caped Crusader and instead looks at some of the many personalities around him. Arguably the most memorable aspect of Batman, his supporting cast of characters, both heroic and villainous, is possibly the best comics have to offer. So it’s only fair that Batman Black and White #5 takes a moment to look at some of the other personalities that make Gotham what it is.

Like the majority of the short stories featured throughout the Batman Black and White series to date, this issue delivers another set of notable pieces from an amazing collection of the medium brightest talents. For me, though, I have to begin my discussion of this book with the story The Man Who Flies.

Written and drawn by Jamal Campbell with letters by Deron Bennett, this story sees Nightwing do a little reflective base jumping after a hard night of crime-fighting. Throughout this story, we see the flying Grayson recall all the good and bad he has experienced, endured, or done to others.

If you’ve read any of my Far Sector reviews, it will come as no surprise that I adore Campbell’s art here. As Dick’s thoughts pass from light to dark and back, Campbell bestows every panel with feeling, as well as an incredible amount of energy, which is more difficult to do when the ability to utilize color is removed as an option.

The last two tales from Batman Black and White #5 I feel need special notation are a pair of stories that truly came out of left field. First is a story about Batman chasing after the Riddler titled The Riddle.

Written by Kieron Gillen, art by Jamie McKelvie, and letters by Clayton Cowles, this story takes the form of a choose your own adventure as you attempt to guide the Dark Knight in his pursuit of the Riddler. This clever premise that, now that I’ve seen it, I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before, utilizes the comic book format in such a fun and noteworthy way. The twists and turns the story takes as you try to chase down the Riddler is a giddy thrill.

The last piece I wanted to talk about is titled simply Blue. Written by Mariko Tamaki, art by Emanuela Lupacchino, inks by Wade von Grawbadger, and letters by Ariana Maher, this tale focuses on an unexpected character: the former wife of Harvey Dent, Gilda.

Now tending bar, Gilda has the displeasure of serving a rather hot-tempered soon-to-be groom during his bachelor party. As she observes the scenes in the bar play out, her thoughts wander back to her own marriage, the pressures that helped bring it about, and the fractures that were already forming before that splash of acid changed Dent forever.

For such a short story, Tamaki dives deep into the many flaws surrounding the fixation, deception, and hurt surrounding the tradition of marriage. It’s a hard look at the institution through the lens of a comic book. Parring greatly with Tamaki’s story, Lupacchino and Grawbadger deliver art that perfectly complements the tones of the story. Rounded off with some added flourishes to the letters by Maher, and this story delivers something on all its aspects as it tells a truly unique tale.

Even beyond these highlights, Batman Black and White #5 delivers nothing but strong stories that combine skillful writing, unique art, and clear, precise lettering that come together to land every story with an execution that even Batman could appreciate.

Batman Black and White #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

Batman Black and White #5
4.5

TL;DR

Even beyond these highlights, Batman Black and White #5 delivers nothing but strong stories that combine skillful writing, unique art, and clear, precise lettering that come together to land every story with an execution that even Batman could appreciate.