Review: Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #6

by Carl Bryan
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Review: Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #6


[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Neal Adams

Artist: Neal Adams

Colors: Neal Adams

Letters: Clem Robins


Reviewed by: Carl Bryan


“You want hydrogen?  Pile scraps of iron into a pool of water and let it rust!” – Ra’s Al Ghul

It all comes down to this…the final meeting of the Batmen!

Ra’s al Ghul’s plan to dominate Gotham City crashes against the will of Bruce Wayne and Matches Malone, as the city’s power grid faces the wave of the future! This is Batman Vs Ra’s Al Ghul.

“Retro” Positives

Neal Adams….no one draws the Caped Crusader like him.  Notice I indicated Caped Crusader as his renditions are like the 1970s.  The artwork, clothing styles, and backgrounds are very much from a retro era gone by in comics.  Neal Adams is on the Mount Rushmore of Batman artists as no one can render a better looking or rugged Bruce Wayne who has not shaven in a week.  His women are beautiful and heroic and scantily clad.  His men are muscular and have never skipped a leg day as his characters are all proportioned wonderfully.

I grew up on his art and his influence on how Batman is depicted is unparalleled.  To draw  as much emotion in Batman as Adams does is not done anymore.  Batman hit a different turn after Frank Miller.

His characterizations of all of his characters…I think he could work with crayon, pencil, chalk, digital tools…no matter what you are going to recognize a Neal Adams rendering of his characters.

“Retro” Negatives

Adams writing…. it takes a special person in comics to take on both duties.  Joelle Jones is doing it now with her initial stint in Catwoman and now with Yara Flor.  Adams writing time has past.

Perhaps Adams at the height of the 70’s and 80’s when we as readers were perhaps viewed as needing to have everything explained to us (picture an old Spiderman comic with a half and half face of Peter Parker and Spiderman).

This particular issue is out of it’s rhythm.  When the series first came out, I was intrigued as this was an artist and author from my childhood.  Reading through this story (several times) and going back to issues #1-6 it is clear that I have grown up as a reader.

Adams art is on another scale.  He clearly is one of the best!  But his script writing…  personally, I cannot follow it.  Perhaps because it doesn’t follow the current timeline (or any timeline).  The characters have not developed emotionally…the product of Adam’s storytelling.  While his renderings are perfect emotion, the words provided to Batman and others are not.

This particular story has a meeting where the participants are discussing how electrolysis works.  A bit dry and an endeavor to bring in the reader to the fold, but there is an immediate shift to an organization taking over the meeting followed by some sort of quick resolution to the meeting???

Before long, I am at the end of the six series submission, and I am no more informed as to what happened as when I finished Issue #1.



I’m sad.  Either I have become a more accomplished reader.  Or Adam’s work in scripts has always been a tough read.  This is clearly a case where Adam’s as an artist is still at the top of his game.  But the script writing and story line is painful to sift through.

If Scott Snyder would pair with Neal Adams, the Batman book that would resonate from that pairing would rival anything in the canon.  But alas, we find ourselves here.  Buy this series knowing that you have art that is beautiful, but a story that is muddled.  Go back and re read issues #1- 6.  Please comment as I would love to hear your impressions as I feel like I was give a map but nothing matters as Adam’s script is word spaghetti.


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