Review: Batman Vs Bigby! A Wolf in Gotham #4
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Bill Willingham
Art: Brian Level and Jay Leisten
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Batman and Bigby finally put their heads together instead of banging them against one another. Most of the secrets are revealed and the game is truly afoot for these two detectives!
Since the beginning of this series, there’s been a feeling of incongruence. I’ve chalked it up to viewing the series as a Batman series instead of a Fables series because that’s how the reader comes into it. After reading Batman Vs Bigby #4, this may have been part of Willingham’s plan all along. That uneasiness heightens the familiarity that comes. After Bigby is able to share his story with the Dark Knight, everything seems to fall into place. As the issue fills in the behind the scenes of Bigby and Cindy’s mission, the tenor of the series shifts just enough to make it feel more like Fables. Additionally, we get a quick cameo of one of Bigby’s daughter’s which further connects this world to the world of Fables.
Surprisingly, there’s a few subtleties with Bookworm that make him feel more impressive and more significant than he did on the Batman ’66 TV show. We see what Bookworm’s plan has been all along. Willingham isn’t revealing all his cards as the cliffhanger seems to say one thing, but it’s mostly likely more misdirection. No spoilers on the specifics, only that it seems like there’s at least one more big surprise down the line. Beyond being the perfect villain for this team-up, there’s just enough of the TV series present that reminds us that Batman’s fables extend beyond the comic into various media with some wildly different interpretation.
Brian Level and Jay Leisten have created a unique feel for this series as they’ve created a unique Batman that is recognizable, but clearly not any “in-continuity” Batman from the comics. The Bat-armor we see in the opening pages seems clearly inspired by the armor we see him wear in the film, Batman v. Superman. They’ve also brought such disparate concepts as the television villain Bookworm and Bigby from Fables together and made them all work. Perhaps, this issue alone is the best example as they echo perfectly the substance of Bookworm that Willingham gives in the script.
Best issue of the series so far!
Batman Vs Bigby #4 comes together wonderfully as background details are filled in. Interestingly, Bookworm jumps out as the star of this issue as the extent of his competency is revealed. It is also gratifying to see Batman and Bigby finally working together, even if they maybe haven’t got it all figured out just yet. It is clear though, that the last two issues will be barn burners!