[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writers: Steve Orlando & Tim Seeley
Artist: Roge Antonio
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
If you haven’t read Batman #7, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go back and read that issue. It’s worth it. Okay, so if you haven’t you’ll still be okay. A bit confused, perhaps.
It’s the “Night of the Monster Men” and the newest incarnation of the Bat-Family has taken to the streets to try to stop Hugo Strange’s horrific aberrations of humanity! As Batman and Batwoman lure the second monster away from the city, Nightwing has a mission: infiltrate the morgue and figure out what Strange is doing. Dick is successful and he discovers that there are more monsters on the way.
His intelligence uncovers one potential place of attack, and it shortly becomes reality as Blackgate Prison is besieged by a monster. Dick does his best to get there, but the mentally unstable Gotham Girl who is able to hear the carnage all the way from the cave takes matters into her own hands, against Batman’s orders.
Big action crossover stories often leave little else to be touched upon but the escalation of the conflict. There are some subtle moments in this issue as we get to see the real humanity in Batman. The very fact that he’s once again leading a “family” of operatives in Detective Comics points to this, but even his interactions with Gotham and Gotham Girl in the Batman title reinforce this take on the character. Batman has no problem giving Dick the responsibility of being the detective in this issue and allows Nightwing to take the lead in the investigation. The action aspects of the issue are quite harrowing. Gotham is not only facing an oncoming hurricane, but under attack by Hugo Strange’s Monster Men. This crossover has a very Batman Eternal feel with the inclusion of the entirety of the Bat-Family in action, though on a much more urgent timeline.
Like so many DC crossovers in the past five years, if you aren’t reading all the respective titles, the crossover can really seem like an interruption of the individual title’s narrative. That’s true here for the most part, and for a reader of Batman or Detective Comics, it fits a bit better than for readers of Nightwing. Enough of the current story lines in Batman and Detective Comics have been incorporated, but for Nightwing readers it has nothing to do whatsoever with what’s been going on in this title for the past four issues. Despite the quality of the crossover so far, I wouldn’t blame you for skipping it if you aren’t already reading Batman and Detective Comics. The success of Batman Eternal and Batman and Robin Eternal has proven that these types of crossovers function better as a separate limited series, be they three, four, six, 12, 26, or 52 issues.
This a fun, exciting Bat-Family story. If you are into the entire Bat-Family it’s worth picking up all the episodes, If you are Nightwing-centric, you’ll survive without it, and the accompanying installments in Batman and Detective Comics.