The memory of the good stuff scattered in the previous issues of this Batman vs The Mad Hatter storyline (scarce as they may be) hold a slight glimmer of hope that this issue will be somewhat decent. However this arc feels like it’s being dragged out. Still, one has to look at this issue for what it is and on the whole I think that this issue is somewhat mediocre. Not an absolute disaster, just nothing weighty or effective that will keep you thirsty for much more. The new art depictions by Szymon Kudranski leave a bit to be desired compared to the previous artist Van Sciver; as the latter managed to depict the furious nature of The Hatter in a better way.
There is an overwhelming sense of dread in this issue, while at certain moments the story veered into horror territory (as with the previous issues of this series), the results are hopeless and tragic. Batman faces a very tough situation, just when he sought for another final resolution. The mantle of the Bat cannot be easily hung, no matter how hard he tries – because one way or another, he will be dragged down again. His psychological condition is tested again as The Hatter proves to be a formidable foe that has carved a niche as one of the worst cases in Arkham.He is a manipulative madman whose desperate cause is endless because it is impossible to replace the object of his desire.
The problem with changing artists mid story line is that it tampers with the overall aesthetic and feel of the subject. Needless to say, this artwork, although at times delightfully dark, disappoints in the long run. There were a couple of moments where, at first glance, I didn’t know what was going on. The art was not all clear in this issue.
Story wise, there is a fundamental plot point (obviously carried from the previous issue), which I found rather too convenient. However, I was willing to interpret it otherwise as an elaborated character situation. Certain moments in this issue felt like a chore, as the story’s unfolding was really and utterly slow moving. It was not a character study, or an intimate moment of personal reflection, but a result of a drawn out – over stretched – narration, which should have been summed up some time ago.
Even though this issue was lacking in any driving content what so ever, it did not bore me. I am still looking forward to: “The Rage of Batman”, not with breathed anticipation but with a slight interest that pokes every now and again. As in Caroll’s famous stories, curiosity plays the key to peek at the next pages to find out what will happen next.