Story: Mark Russell
Art: Ryan Benjamin, Richard Friend
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Troy Peteri
What They Say:
When Batman’s old nemesis Killer Moth is shot dead in an everyday burglary, the World’s Greatest Detective knows there must be more to the story. After all, this is one of Batman’s earliest foes, and if there’s anything Batman learned from those early fights, it’s that you always need a backup plan!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Mark Russell has really kind of surprised me with this book overall as the run has gone on. I’ve mostly known his work from Red Sonja but he’s got a bunch of stories in the DC Giants run that have been really enjoyable, both as arcs and as standalone tales. He’s capturing the voices just right and does so once again here while looking at the big picture. This installment brings us back to Ryan Benjamin and Richard Friend on the art duties with Alex Sinclair coloring and it looks strong with a lot of good detail, some great designs, and color that pops where it needs to.
The focus for this issue is definitely interesting as it focuses on Batman after having been in this role for what feels like a couple of decades now, someone with a lot of experience and having dealt with the changes in how things have gone down. There’s a reflective attitude to it in how he talks about Killer Moth, an opponent that he’s neve been able to take down properly, to see behind the mask and look into the eyes of. Killer Moth was in his prime when Batman first started and they’ve tussled plenty over the years, so Batman’s surprised when he ends up dealing with an encounter with him again only to find that Killer Moth was taken out by a security guard in some building. The book cover a look at the past encounters he had with him to show the dynamic they had and it works well to bring it full circle here.
Now, it’s pretty easy to tell that the old man that killed Killer Moth is actually Killer Moth because the time frame basically makes it clear. It’s not trying to hide it in a big way, especially from the world’s best detective, but it provides for a nice back and forth before having the real Killer Moth talk about how he’s just been trying to get out of this for so long. I love that it digs into how back when Batman started it was all a lot more innocent, simpler and sillier in a way, but then everything just started escalating and it got more intense and competitive. And costlier to run various jobs, making it so that each win had to bring in more. That he sunk to basically lifting TV sets and trying to move those shows just how far Killer Moth has sunk, but just how ridiculous the game got as the years went on. And, admittedly, how much more serious and dealing it got.
The Batman stories have been pretty good overall but Russell nails this one a bit better as it’s more personal, looks at the longer view of things, and touches on how things have changed. It’s a mixed kind of thing because more complex and interesting books come because of how things have evolved but there’s also something to be said for those simpler times when there was a greater sense of fun about it all. The art team again does a great job as they’ve done on other installments as I really enjoy the detail and character designs that we get here. It’s a solid read with a little wink and nod to it all that’s just spot on perfect.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology and Amazon Kindle
Release Date: June 2nd, 2020