The crisis of faith and belief continues as Azrael and his mythos is developed further.
Part 3 in the Short Circuit storyline is out this week and Batman is getting desperate. He wants to protect his team and his friends, and Zatanna might be the only person who can make sure this is possible. Since they have a history–they were friends years prior–he’s opening up to her, which is a unique thing to see in a Batman book. Based on the cover though, it looks like Azrael is in for some violence.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“INTELLIGENCE” part three! With Zatanna joining the ranks of Batman’s allies, there shouldn’t be any foe the team can’t take on…but does that include their teammate Azrael himself, who just might be cracking up?
Why does this book matter?
James Tynion IV has been writing some of the freshest stories in Gotham for some time due to the team aspect he’s created. Plus, Clayface has been a fantastic addition who has changed for the better, possibly forever. This latest story arc deals heavily with faith and belief, which should rock Batman to his core.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Dang, they rich.
I’m hesitant to call this a table setting issue, but it very much is, though in a good way. Cutting between the villains, Batman and Zatanna, and Batwing and Batwoman, Tynion progresses the character side of the story well in each. We get a handle on what is at stake for the villains, Batman’s crisis of sorts continues, and Batwing and Batwoman may be in way over their heads come next issue. Each plot shows great character work and will pull you in. It’s also really cool to see Tynion is building on Azrael’s character and its likely readers will appreciate him more just as Tynion has made us appreciate and love Clayface more than ever.
Alvaro Martinez draws this issue and it’s becoming quite clear he’s a master at drawing very big interiors. The first two panels, for instance, show off an large hotel room and then an expansive hidden library on the other side of a door. The villains meanwhile have some digs in the Swiss Alps and there are some epic interiors with broken stained glass and rubble showing off a truly evil lair. Batwing’s workshop is another highlight with bat-robots all about and a nice sense of scope as far as high tech machinery and expansive space. The villain continues to look freaky and quite foreboding and the oversized helmet will certainly make you want to see what is underneath.
Batman, why so worried?
It can’t be perfect can it?
Why must Batman come off as weak in this series?! It’s certainly an issue I’ve had in the past for this series and it seems totally out of character. Sure, it’s nice to see his team can bail him out, but he comes off as fearful and worried in the opening scenes with Zatanna and it just doesn’t seem right. Especially when he’s going to be riding dinosaurs and planning for secret gods or some sort in Metal later this year!
Outside of this recurring quibble, this issue is slow, with a lot of exposition which can make it feel like a slog to get through. It doesn’t help that the action that does pop up is the full page splash cliffhanger page and you’ll be wishing for more action of some sort here.
Is It Good?
Tynion has me hook line and sinker: I want to know what happens next and I can’t wait to learn more about these mysterious villains. That said, this issue is mostly setup and is a slow read.