Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Batman and Robin by Peter J. Tomasi issue #23.3

Holy shit, Villains Month should happen more often in DC's New 52 because I'm all up for it now since reading Tomasi's Two-Face issue A Tale of Two Faces (which I terribly loved), and Tynion IV's Exquisite Dread about the Court of Owls (which actually made me like the Owls storyline again). This time, Tynion gives me yet another scrumptious villain-centered story: The Demon Tower starring no other than Ra's Al Ghul who, in my personal opinion, is the most formidable and engaging villain from Batman's rogue gallery OF ALL TIME. Sure, I'll always be all for the Joker being Batman's perfect contrast and twisted "soulmate", but of all of Batman's villains, I can never imagine Batverse being the way it is without Ra's Al Ghul to add some spice and devastation.

Reading this issue unearthed long-buried nostalgic feelings about Dennis O'Neil's Birth of the Demon which remains my most favorite Ra's Al Ghul story EVER. Heck, look at that splash of green (from the Lazarus Pit, I assume) in the cover! It's even reminiscent of Birth. The reason why I thoroughly enjoyed this issue SO FUCKING MUCH because it operates on the well-established and badass characterization of Ra's Al Ghul which is that he had adapted to the rapid changes of the earth, and nothing will ever get in the way of his vision of a perfect world. After the events in Forever Dead (which I know I keep referencing to in my Villains Month issue reviews, but never expound on, and this time I STILL WON'T BECAUSE SPOILERS, HELLO), a new evil event appears in the horizon, the creatively named Secret Society of Super Villains. Ra's, who has seen societies, empires and civilizations rise and fall for years, was understandably NOT IMPRESSED.

Said secret society tries to invite him, bribe him and/or threaten him by sending a envoy to have the most awesome swashbuckling sword-fight sequence/dialogue. It doesn't get any more epic than that!

Just like in Tynion's Exquisite Dread, we get several flashbacks pertaining to Ra's throughout the centuries, and how this is contrasted with the present times. We also got some great moments with Batman, Talia and Damian in it too for extra good measure. And then when all is said and done, Ra's is still NOT IMPRESSED with this new league of villains. Because if there is one thing that's constant in Batverse, it is the fact that Ra's Al Ghul will always, always, adapt to new environmental factors, and he will not bow down to any master, or join any other cause than his own. This is one Bat-villain who will not compromise for anything. Jorge Lucas' artwork is distinct and dynamic in only a story likes this deserves to have. I love the explosion of colors and bizarrely-angled panel shots during some scenes.

So yeah, I have fangirled my heart out with this story, so I should end this review before I start overselling the issue. But you know what? It's really worth the purchase. Pick up this one alongside Two-Face and you will be happy that you took the time to bother reading them. Villains Month still has one issue left in this line-up (which is about Killer Croc) and I'll be reading that alongside the Nightwing one (the last stage of Batman's grief). Here we go!


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