Posted 20 hours ago

Batman: Reptilian

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Batman initially thinks this trope is in play, with a bigger, badder villain taking out all the other criminals in Gotham, but it soon becomes clear something else is going on. In a nutshell: If you want a grounded deep story that takes the character of waylon jones serious then ignore this book. Sharp’s art adds an air of ambition to the proceedings, and at times it feels like Ennis is trying to craft a new sort of story for the Dark Knight. Even though I adore Sharp’s work, I will always wonder what Dillon’s rendition of the story would have looked like. Instead of exaggerating muscles and femininity, it's sometimes caricaturistic, especially with the villains.

There are definitely shades of Dave McKean and Bill Sienkiewicz in Sharp’s gloomy, expressionistic pages, but his page compositions make these pages absolutely singular. With only Alfred and a Russian thug with connections by his side, this mystery leads him to shocking crime scenes that further corroborate the sole fact he’s got: there’s a monster out there.

Yes Batman is a dark character, yes he uses fear as a weapon, but in this book he comes across as much of an uncaring sociopath as the criminals he is chasing or "putting into traction". The painted style is an odd choice and wasn’t to my taste, though, even if it had looked like Sharp’s usual artwork, it wouldn’t have improved the book.

The end result is such that we, the readers, are put in such a position as it becomes quite difficult to know what is going to happen next. And although the ending falls apart a bit, with Batman's characterisation wobbling and a big explodey showdown that really doesn't sit right with the style Sharp is using here, I mostly enjoyed this one. I'll leave the rest out since it's in spoiler territory, but while initially fascinating, it only muddles his history even more and possibly removes him from the playing field completely. Liam Sharp also has a note at the beginning, saying he would draw this book in completely his own style, as Dillon would have wanted him to.

Yes, he's got form on giving good bastard, but here he manages to work within Bruce's ridiculous limitations so as to make someone who is widely known not to kill genuinely menacing all the same.

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