Like all of Daniel's previous issues, this one had top-of-the-line gorgeous and exciting illustrations that I had so much fun looking at right to the smallest details. However, once again, they are wasted on such a convoluted and underwhelming "story" that was so agonizingly confusing that I can't even call it dull. The weird thing about this issue is that we're supposed to get a climactic confrontation between Batman and the Penguin, who has been in the cover and succeeding variant covers for three fucking issues now. Instead, what we get is the worst anticlimactic bullshit ever where the said long-awaited big-boss fight between Batsy and the Penguin was rushed. This is also consequential to the overall lack of focus of the entire plot arc that Daniel is supposedly writing. I've said it so many times now and I will say it again: NOTHING MAKES SENSE.
Personally, I blame Charlotte Rivers who is an obviously piss-poor second-rated Vicki Vale. I don't know her and I don't want to spend time with her because she has not been a compelling character in any way. Her motivations are unclear and fickle, and her ridiculous timing and placement in the story are far too convenient. She doesn't add any kind of drama or intrigue and I don't like it when she's with Batman because it reinforces the notion that secondary female characters that are badly-written like this one serve no other purpose but as eye-candy fanservice (how many times does she have to cosplay her way in the plot, dammit?) and the trope-that-must-die damsel-in-distress shtick. Just stop, okay? But the list of offense just goes on. HOLY LOKI!
What's worse than a Charlotte Rivers in your story? Why, having a twin sister named Jill whose character arc is that she's a reluctant villain/anti-heroine, that is! While Charlotte's presence in the plot makes everything even more unconvincing, Jill actually does things to move it forward--even if those directions are questionable and unsatisfactory. I honestly can't understand who she is fighting against and why she's even bothering. Her relationship with her twin should interest me in some way because I like character-driven narratives about complicated relationships but theirs is such a boozefest filled with clunky dialogue and vague references. WHY AM I READING ABOUT PEOPLE I DON'T HAVE ANY EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT IN? Better question: WHY CAN'T YOU MAKE ME CARE ABOUT YOUR HEROINES, DANIEL?
I've been giving straight 4 to 5 out of 10 ratings since issue #4 and I believe it's time for me to even rank this lower because this should be the part where all the action and excitement would complement the story it's unravelling alongside it--but none of the elements work or blend well, and I am just so exhausted and negatively bias about this entire comic book series that I will no longer apologize for the bitter resentment I have developed for Daniel as a Batman writer. I understand that he has written another Batman story called Batman: Life After Death which was suggested by a fellow Goodreads person and I'm adding that to my to-read list next year. But for now, I don't like this author. He should have stuck with illustrating Batman comics because I have no complaints on that area of expertise. This time, though, not even his artwork could save the travesty that this issue has produced and continue to reinforce. I really am not in a forgiving mood whatsoever.
NOT RECOMMENDED: 3/10