Azrael and Jean Paul Valley returns to comics in Convergence Shadow of The Bat #1 written by Larry Hama, Philip Tan on pencils, Jason Paz and Rob Hunter on inks, Elmer Santos on color, and Steve Wands on letting.
Yet another preboot Bruce Wayne (or perhaps that is preboot Bruce) is stuck under the dome in Metropolis and is getting the shake down from Tobias Whale and his newly hired Nikka. He leaves Bruce with his new muscle Johnny Valley (har har har) who is none other than (ye he’s alive) Jean Paul. Tobias Whale wants to exploit the food routes and distribution. He forces “Jonny” and Bruce to go shake the information from a crooked councilman. The same councilman is later killed by Whale. Bruce and Jean Paul suit up in their batsuits to intercept Whale’s plans. Nikka ends up being Pilgrim from the Wildstorm Universe undercover and after she’s revealed she teleports out of there to regroup with Jester, also from Wildstorm.
Hello 90s. The art is not quite as dated as it could be the way some of these Convergence issues are doing to “fit” the feel of the characters, but the 90s influence is very clear as is the gritty violence and tactics of Azrael. It’s all over dramatic and so very grimdark, though it’s not without its humor such as Bruce opting to take the stairs rather than jump alongside Jean. The costuming is atrociously 90s from Nikka’s bellyshirt femme fatale get-up to her reveal as Pilgrim as is Jester who both are obvious Wildstorm creations. These aren’t all positives per se, but it’s passable fare.
Everything of the above too. 90’s and grimdark sholck are both funny and “Oh wow” but also so trite. It gets hard to get back into it. There’s only so much “Haha, Jean Paul threw a person out of a truck into oncoming traffic and he got splattered haha so edgy” you can take. The problem with 90’s violence and edginess is that it’s become the norm and mainstream. That kind of stuff has become so common place in action films and the like, it’s no longer the really shocking medium it was back then. Even then it was cheezy. This is not to say you have to go darker or more violent, rather it’s more interesting if people tried something else. This is not the comic to ask for that however, it is what it is; Shadow of The Bat
Not sure where Convergence Shadow of the Bat is going but Azrael is back so that’s interesting. Bruce provides some great humanizing comments that make him reason to Jean’s zealousness. In all moderate stuff.