/\ /\ /\ /\ Splash Page from Green Lantern #55 Pencils Doug Mahnke /\ /\ /\

Friday, November 5, 2010

BATMAN: Streets of Gotham: 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 LEVIATHAN TPB Review

RATING 4 out of 5 {This rating is  not on the co-feature in the back of the individual issues.}
Leviathan has a great set of stories, with the same art team for all the issues.  The covers and pencils for the interior pages are done by Dustin Nguyen.   The trade paper back has stand alone story lines, but the individual issues are not. 

-Story One: LEVIATHAN:  Writer: Chris Yost Issues: #5 and #6:  Rating 4 out of 5:  
Has a Huntress/Man-Bat storyline with a twist ending. 
-Story Two: HARDCORE NIGHTS:Writer Mike Benson  Issues: #8 and #9 : Rating 3.5 out of 5
Has a Dick Grayson solving a murder mystery and resolving it as Batman.
-Story Three: Each issue had it's own title BLEAK of MIDWINTER,  THE HEROES, FINAL CUT:   Writer: Paul Dini Issues: #7, #10, #11: Rating 4 out of 5
Has Damian solves a murder mystery involving homeless children with the help of a new friend, Abuse. 

I love the name of Leviathan. Info from Wiki(link):   
Leviathan is a sea monster when referred to in the Bible. In Demonology, Leviathan is one of the seven princes of Hell and its gatekeeper.  In classical literature (such as the novel Moby-Dick) it refers to great whales, and in Modern Hebrew, it means simply "whale."

Review and Minor  Spoilers of First story, Issues 5 6 :
Ratting 4 out of 5:
At the beginning Man-Bat  goes crazy and attacks/chases Huntress. This fight and flight continues through out the city of Gotham.  She questions Oracle why she isn't killing the Beast, then disappear from site. 
My favorite exchange:
Batman/Dick Grayson: "I expected prolonged screaming, explosions, and bloody murder. "
Oracle: "I told you, Man-Bat can control it now."
Batman/Dick Grayson: "I was talking about Huntress"

Interspersed between the panels of the chase/fight is the background story of a priest, Father Mark. The previous priest had this advise for him, "This is Gotham.  It's not a city...It's a LEVIATHAN. Our faith won't be Tested here. Here, the Beast Himself will come out and RIP it from you. It's not enough to have faith...You have to fight to keep it in Gotham." 

Chris Yost's plot twist at the end of the story really sealed it as a class A story. 

Dustin Nguyen's art is fantastic in this series of issues. In the panel above which is a full two page spread, you can actually see through Man-Bat's wing. You can feel the fight and the speed as they tear through the city's skyline. 

Minor Spoilers of Second story, Issues 8 9:
3.5 out of 5
The story is the typical murder mystery being solved by Batman/Dick Grayson but these issues started a lot of huffing on the threads because issue 7 had started a different story line then the one contained in these issues. It was a decent start to a story, so I didn't mind, BUT at first this skip from one story to another was little confusing.

My problem with this story is it seemed more of a Bruce Wayne characterization. This was shortly out after the Battle of the Cowl, and to read Dick being so grim about things seemed really out of character. 

Review and Minor  Spoilers of third story, Issues 7 10 11:
Ratting 4 out of 5:
This was a very well written story and... a very memorable story. There are some panels in these issues that will be talked about for some time to come and remembered for sometime after that. It is a finished work with no loose ends. Dini is an excellent writer and Nguyen's pencils were able to portray the story very well. Everyone associated with this book did a very good job.

This is a Damian story.  I am not....I said NOT ...a Damian fan, but I loved this story.  I'm always critical of the kid, and I generally don't like the character, but this story was very well told.  One of the many smart mouth remarks Damian makes to Dick is, "You get better stuff, if you're a REAL son,"  and.... despite my need to throttle the kid, he ends up surviving (darn!).

In this story several children are found dead, washed up on the banks of Gotham River. Even if... he is just a small boy,  Damian puking at the site of dead children, seemed like a cheap plot device, to show his sympathy toward the deaths of the children, and a reason for him to go off in a rage after the killer.  At one point, Damian use shis own blood as a Robin mask, which even for me, a Damian hater, really looked bad-ass, but at the end of the story he still showed he is more of a killer, then a savior, and not a character I would want to see wearing the cowl and claiming to be Batman when he grows up.

Damian also saves a new comrade named ABUSE.  The character of ABUSE reminded me of Captain Marvel, a boy trying to be a hero and able to change into a Brute.  I loved this character with his boyish charm.  Even Damian noticed that the change from boy to brute did not change the heart of the child.  I hope to see this character again.

What made the story great ....was the skill of the artisans.  Their combined effort was able to make the knife fights between Damian and the antagonist, Mr. Zsasz come to life.  The shadowing of the antagonist’s tossing his knife from hand to hand, and the slice and dodging movements really helped bring the story up out of the pages.  This would not only include the talent of Dustin Nguyen, who penciled all of these issues, but the inker and colorist, Fridolfs and Kalisz, also need kudos’s for their work at accentuating what he drew.

It was pointed out to me, that this story really began in issue number 3 and 4, but those issues also contain other story lines and even though they do contain  Zsasz becoming  "Mr Zsasz", I don't think they are necessary to enjoy the story unfolding in these three issues.  If a writer uses Penguin and his  Iceberg Nightclub in a story,  do you need the back up story of how Penguin started the Iceburg nightclub?

Batman: Streets of Gotham: Leviathan: Issues 5-11

Writers: Chris Yost, Mike Benson, Paul Dini
Pencils and covers: Dustin Nguyen
INker: Derek Fredoles
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters:Steve Wands
Asst. Edit: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts

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