I'm taking a short sabbatical from reading Batman Eternal and this would be the second day of that. There are many parts of that said series that I loved and terribly geeked about, but there are some aspects to it that just didn't jive with me as well. The last issue I read (#21 which was spectacular) ripped me a new hole so I just had to get away and read other Bat-titles in the meantime to recuperate. Yesterday I read issues #8-12 (plus issue zero and annual) of Tony S. Daniel's Detective Comics for New 52 and I was not happy about it. Thankfully, I'll be reading John Layman's issues for that series next which are so much better than what Daniel came up with.
But I have latest releases to catch up to such as this August edition for Scott Snyder's Batman. Ironically enough, this is a script written by Gerry Duggan though Snyder was credited as well. The very first thing that gripped me upon reading this is the art done by Matteo Scalera which is what made this issue such a scary and delightful read all at once. I loved the colors most of all especially the inconspicuous black droplets splashed in panels for every page, giving it a grimy feel as you peruse through. Visually, this was such a thrill to read; it was unmistakably noir in scope. Story-wise, there's enough to it to keep to sustain your interest. This has little to do with the events in Eternal although there was a full-paged illustration consisting of six blue panels that one would consider spoilers from Eternal itself.
Personally, I didn't look at them too much or try to comprehend anything in that page especially Batman's monologue boxes which were vague and evasive to begin with to avoid potentially giving up any significant details or clues for Eternal.
I'm quite glad to see Dr. Leslie Thompson here who is actually a very important person in Bruce's life next to Alfred when it comes to the only people Bruce opens up to and allows to help him deal with his childhood trauma. She didn't really do anything much here, however, but it's just nice to see her and Batman interact and the fact that he took a break to help her out with what was ailing her. In this case, her patients are being targeted and killed off by an unknown perpetrator. The killer in question is a pitiful creature who is actually more disturbing than any costumed villain had to face, most probably because such a man can exist beyond the comic book pages. I won't give away too much because the story mainly revolves around the discovery and apprehension of the killer. What I did like is that Batman does care about small-scale crimes like this, committed by ordinary evil men who are lurking in Gotham, often overlooked because of the noticeable population of 'freaks' such as the Joker, the Riddler, etc. who are more theatrical in their methods and madness. If I read this earlier while enjoying other Bat-titles, I may just dismiss this one as a proper moody standalone issue with striking art, but since I have nothing on my plate right now, I was able to savor its charm and appeal, as brief and simple as it may be. The story holds up on its own despite that it's a solitary plot with no other implications for the more important events in Snyder's run.
I liked it. I enjoyed the atmospheric ghoulishness a lot.