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‘Batman Universe #2’ (review)

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Nick Derington
Published by DC Comics

 

“Hey, have you heard from Clark lately?
“All the time.”
“Oh, so it’s just me he’s blowing off.”

 

The fun continues this month as Brian Bendis and the Batman continue their virgin tour of the DC Universe, on the trail of a mysterious artifact in the shape of a Faberge egg.

It’s a 24-page whopper of a book, gorgeously illustrated by the tremendously talented Nick Derington, with Dave Stewart doing a bang up job on colors, with among other things, not one but two beautiful two-page spreads of fabled Gorilla City by night.

Wait, hold on. Gorilla City?

That’s right. This book isn’t called Batman Universe for nothing.

And Bendis isn’t going to miss the opportunity to stretch Batman’s legs a bit.

When you’re the one hero who plans for every eventuality, with all the tools, tech and toys to make that possible, nothing is going to stop you from chasing down the answers to a mystery with more surprising connections than Blue Beetle in a Shriner’s convention. Gorilla City is the least of it.

First though, we’re treated to a little Brave and Bold action, as Bats and Green Arrow continue their team-up against the Riddler in Amsterdam.

Lovely city.

Bendis does an excellent job of avoiding all the old tropes that would have Bruce and Ollie squaring off against each other, as much as they do against their common foe. Instead we find a familiarity between the two masked vigilantes that communicates nothing so much as mutual respect. Batman neither talks down to, nor belittles Green Arrow. Instead the two men relate as full-fledged colleagues and friends. The patter between them as they work their case is both refreshing, and damn enjoyable.

That said, never let it be said that facing down Oliver Queen in full rage-beserker mode is a trifling matter.

Call it a good test run for the events unfolding now in the pages of Event Leviathan. Something tells me having their relationship squarely in place, is going to serve both men well in the days ahead.

Again however, it’s good to remember that the events in Batman Universe are all from an adventure of the recent past. Just how recent is unclear, but there’s a least one new player to our cast this month whose villainous machinations come as an enjoyable surprise given that other events in the DCU recently left him seemingly, very, very dead.

But who knows? Maybe this is all groundwork for something of a more permanent return.

One thing is for sure. Brain Bendis is having a lot of fun. The plot is a gas, the script sparkles, Bendis’ Batman is splendidly and fully realized, and this issue showcases not only a literal Easter egg, but a literal Mystery box to boot. Who could ask for anything better?

Well… ok, how about a little trans-local teleportation action?

And suddenly it’s very clear – the sky is no limit.

Next Issue: Up, up, and away.

 

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