Review: Batman: Secret Files #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Vita Ayala, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Mariko Tamaki, Dan Watters, James Tynion IV
Artist: Andie Tong, Victor Ibanez, Riley Rossmo, John Paul Leon, Sumit Kumar
Letters: Rob Leigh, Troy Peteri, Tom Napolitano, Deron Bennett, Carlos M. Mangual
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez, Jordie Bellaire, Ivan Plascencia, FCO Plascencia
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
“I like the cape! ” – Batman
Spinning out of the pages of Batman! Discover the origins and motivations behind the cabal of assassins who have come to Gotham to stop Batman from enacting his plans to save the city, including Deathstroke, Cheshire, Merlyn, and the new threats of Mr. Teeth and Gunsmith. What brought this team together, and who is frightening enough to boss Deathstroke around? It’s five killer tales from five killer creative teams in this can’t-miss issue!
Where to begin? This comic provides some back stories to a series of villains that were designed to not only keep Batman busy but to really weaken him in battle.
Every time I read a series of stories about Batman running through a gauntlet of villains, I always think of “The Broken Bat” when Bane put us all through over a year of turmoil many years ago. But I digress.
This compilation of stories not only gives back stories and more spine to the plans of the Designer (whom is not mentioned in these pages… or maybe he is?) But it also provides a newer Rogues Gallery to the Batman mythos.
Vita Ayala’s Don’t Hold Your Breath! hurts on a lot of levels. Part Lady Shiva, Part Electra and all Cheshire. She’s very formidable and Batman lets his guard down too much. She easily gains the upper hand as Bruce wants to save her to convert her to an ally against crime.
However, Cheshire knows too much about Batman and she is not interested in being a part of the Bat-Family in any way, shape or form. Arguably, Ayala’s story could have been an easy demise to Bats. Food for thought for this new villain on the block.
Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s Hunters offers us an old Brave and Bold Team Up of Batman and Green Arrow as Merlyn gains an upper hand on Bruce. And Oliver takes issue with capes.
Two rich billionaires, a lot of arrows on both sides of the coin, and a young girl in danger. What could go wrong? Well for starters, a series of well placed arrows designed to deflate the lungs.
Mariko Tamaki’s Muted is one of the best “shhhhhh” stories you will ever read/observe/watch. Mr. Teeth is the thing that bad dreams come from. But what works in this story is Riley Rossmo’s art! Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo drip all over as Rossmo’s renderings of Batman scream of their pencils. But Rossmo makes it his bloody own!
This issue is worth this story alone, but wait….there’s more! Act now, and you can have…..
Dan Watter’s Afraid of America should be required reading for anyone that has ever picked up a gun and if you are a second amendment proponent. Watter’s thought provoking tale will resonate with any cerebral Batman fan. No spoilers here, but I’d be interested in your comments.
Finally, James Tynion IV’s Fools Gold is the back story of how Deathstroke and Joker got into cahoots together. Tynion IV succeeds with this pairing in a big way. Not only do we get Joker, but Tynion IV delivers the Punchline too! (See what I did there….)
Tynion is bleeding her out there frame by frame. Collect these Easter Eggs. Remember when Harley came on the scene. Punchline is ramping this game up really fast!
Please skip this section! Usually a compilation work likes this has a weak link. You won’t find it here!
The authors, the artists, and the Batman! The stories are thought provoking and the ending leaves you wondering who is “Designing” all of this! See what I did there!