[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writers: Steve Orlando/ Tom King
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Still reeling from the recent loss of the hero Gotham, Batman finds himself and his team helping evacuations of Gotham City due to a massive hurricane. As the storm builds up and Batman continues his efforts, someone takes advantage of the situation and unleashes something deadly! Can Batman stop the rise of the Monster Men before the fall of Gotham City?
“Night of the Monster Men, Part 1” finally shows us exactly what Hugo Strange has been working on, and King hasn’t disappointed me in his story so far! It seems that Strange is working on creating his own race of monsters intent on destroying Gotham City and the Batman. Orlando and King do a great job of showing Batman’s team of Nightwing, Batwoman, and a few others as a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows their roles and exactly what to do, and Batman of course is still the expert tactician. Fighting the brutal elements of a hurricane, Batman is still dedicated to saving lives, no matter how impossible the task. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but two key elements of this story made me want to go back and read some other titles as well because of the reveal Orlando and King do here in this issue. I’ll tell you this much — I was surprised to see a certain Arkham villain become Batman’s ally and also one of Batman’s proteges is dead! I think that’s enough information to go on so you can find out yourself! However King and Orlando do a wonderful job of showing us what a leader Batman is here especially under such extreme circumstances and what he’s been through in the previous issues as well. The team as whole is still reeling from a string of losses and setbacks so it means a lot when Batman let’s them know that he’s still dedicated to saving Gotham City no matter what.
My only complaint so far I feel may be the overuse of supporting characters themselves sometimes. I’ve always thought of Batman as a strictly solo character, and although he has his partners, some of his best work and best books seemed to be when he’s facing the odds alone. I love what Orlando and King have written so far, but it seems that in every issue I’ve read he’s been more of a team player or leader than operating solo, which, depending on the issue, can get irritating. Sometimes I like the issue where Batman has no one to turn to or trust because that’s when his mind is put to work and we really see him shine like the hero he is. I hope in the future King or Orlando return Batman to working solo for a while to get back to the true grit and nature of who he is. I’ve always pictured Batman as a solitary figure, needing no one or nothing until absolutely necessary. I love the team mantra that’s obviously shown in this issue — I just hope it isn’t a regularly occurring theme every issue.
“Night of the Monster Men, Part 1” was a good read. Orlando and King do a great job of showing us not only Batman but his team as a whole operating under extreme circumstances and still making it work. Even when Nightwing has his doubts about the mission, Batman reassures him that they will save everyone — they have to. It’s these small statements reinforced by bigger actions that makes Batman such an inspiration and a joy to read period. I’m eager to see exactly what Strange has planned since obviously that first monster was clearly in the testing stage. I’ve always been a fan of Strange as being a mental challenge to Batman and so far King and Orlando have stayed true to this formula. Strange has been pulling the strings the entire time, and just now we’re seeing the consequences of it! I’m defining looking forward to reviewing the next issue — just like you should be reading this issue now!!! Check it out!!!