It’s been fascinating to see the continuity of the Tim Burton Batman films going beyond Batman Returns and sidestepping the pair of Schumacher films entirely. Perhaps the best element – and the biggest missed opportunity in the switch from Burton to Schumacher – is the Billy Dee Williams-styled Harvey Dent/Two Face, who really does look like he belongs in a Tim Burton movie, by virtue of his Beetlejuice-esque scary side.
In this issue, Dent’s campaign of terror on the streets of Gotham continues, with Commissioner Gordon caught in an attack on the GCPD building. Batman and his new partner, Robin, do their best to stop Two-Face and his goons, with backup from Gordon’s daughter Barbara and even this month’s cover star, Selina Kyle/Catwoman.
Though it’s an intriguing story and Joe Quinones gives us some truly inventive layouts throughout the issue, there’s a bit of a problem with some unclear storytelling, partly due to the art and at one stage, Hamm’s script just veers off topic, seemingly at random; there’s a moment or two where I wasn’t sure what had happened and another where I wasn’t sure exactly why we were being shown something in a few panels.
That said, for most of the issue it’s a great read – and an interesting peek into an alternate universe, where Warner Bros had the balls to stand up to McDonald’s – and other merchandising partners – who got cold feet after the darkness and violence of Batman Returns. In a world where Lego sets exist of horror-adjacent serial killer thriller The Batman, the idea of a third Burton movie being shifted towards a more colourful and ‘toyetic’ (ugh!) tone seems incredibly short-sighted and unnecessary.
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