Thursday, November 6, 2014

Detective Comics by John Layman issue #26

As I have stated in my reviews concerning the Man-Bat storyline that was tackled as backup standalones for Detective Comics issues #21-23.4, I developed a certain fondness for it that truly surprised me because I have never liked Man-Bat before. However, since I thought that John Layman's re-imagining of Kirk Langstorm's origin story was handled with great finesse, I also found myself caring about the character and his struggle as a transformed monster, including his fractured relationship with his wife Francine. This issue is the concluding installment for this minor story arc, and it was satisfactory in its own way although I don't entirely believe this will be the last time we'll hear from either Man-Bat and She-Bat. If you're equally enthralled and invested with Kirk Langstorm and his misadventures as the Man-Bat as I've been, then this issue Crown of Fear will be an exciting one for you.

Batman finally gets himself involved, considering there are real-life killer bats who have infested a cave somewhere in Gotham and tourists and noisy teenagers are being killed in it. The investigation leads him to Gordon who (from the previous issue) was having a discussion with Officer Wallace concerning a series of murders where victims sustained enormous bites in their bodies. Batman then confronts Langstorm who had just lost himself to the bat-serum (from issue #23.4) and is currently not in touch with his humanity. Batman eventually does get to him by using some sort of sonar gadget which helped Langstorm transform back to his human form. The two of them started talking about Francine and his research-gone-wrong. Langstorm proposes a plan to capture Francine and Batman goes along with it (while secretly having a backup plan of his own). The confrontation with Francine the bat-queen was sort of anticlimactic but it worked neatly. Artist Aaron Lopresti illustrated the bats fairly well and were sinister enough on page.

Crown of Fear is a very straightforward story and the emotional pay-off will only be satisfactory for a reader who had read and followed the Man-Bat story since The 900 from Detective Comics issue #19. Perhaps it's too straightforward that the stakes weren't high enough and I can agree with that. This arc started very quietly in the background and sadly also ended in a low-key note. Personally, I didn't mind because I thought Layman had a great set-up to begin with and I believe he might write Kirk and Francine Langstorm again in future stories and since I'm already crazy about these two, a comeback storyline will be great. Still, I recognize that not everyone will share my penchant so I'm rating this issue in a more objective way. I do believe it wrapped up too quickly and the sense of danger wasn't as heightened as the previous establishing issues before it.


No comments:

Post a Comment