writer: Kelley Puckett
artists: Damion Scott and Robert Campanella
Brubaker and Johns have been slaving away over in the pages
of Batman to set up a heartwarming reconciliation between
Cassandra and David Cain. And now when Batgirl gets the chance,
she kicks his ass instead.
also note that the penal system in Gotham City doesn't really
check credentials too closely. Not only does the teenaged
Cassandra Cain pass as a newspaper reporter in order to interview
perhaps the most wanted man in town, she pummels Cain and
several guards before walking out the front door. At least
Scott and Campanella had the courtesy to show us those beaten
why she confronts Cain, it has to do with the identity of
a macguffin, which Batman easily discards in his rush to make
Batgirl feel better. It's a wimpy week for the Gotham Knights.
story and art: Jeff Smith
battle approaches. Within the walled city, religious zealots
battle over ancient prophecies, forbidding the traditional
worship of dragons. Outside the city, Princess Thorn reveals
herself in order to save a small child. And hidden in a manger,
Phoney and Smiley Bone have begun minting their own gold coins.
even as the political intrigue has grown and a strange philosophical
debate has taken centerstage, this series hasn't lost its
charm. We can still laugh as Phoney takes on giant sentient
bees, even though the stakes are higher than any of them knows.
Clearly, a bloodbath is coming, but somehow Smith will make
writer: Greg Rucka
artists: Rick Burchett and Jim Royal
Batman's warning, Checkmate keeps spilling their operations
into Gotham City. Or are they just testing him? If they are,
they're the ones that fail, as Batman…beats up a girl? While
on the one hand, you've got to assume that in Checkmate, women
are just as tough (if not tougher) than men, and Batman has
fought Catwoman and Poison Ivy, to name a few. But somehow,
this turn of events just leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
it's all because of his obsession with the fate of Sasha,
which Rucka wraps up before leaving the book. Without warning,
this whole arc suddenly takes on the feel of a bad chick flick.
But it's not a total loss. Burchett draws a surprisingly mature-looking
Bruce Wayne, which gives strength to the desperation that
wars within him. We can believe that with the death of Vesper,
Bruce realized that time is flying by.
the back-up story, "The Hunt," concludes in an unexpected
direction. The new vigilante is not the old one I'd thought
it was, and as a sucker for costumes that just go completely
out there in concept, I can hardly wait to see this guy again.
writer: Bill Willingham
artists: Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha
we should change the name of the book to "Allegories." For
this second arc, Willingham borrows liberally from George
Orwell's Animal Farm for both title and central image.
But he's too good a writer to let us stop at the obvious.
Though the pigs apparently lead the revolution, Willingham
throws enough twists into the story to remind us that just
like as in the fairy tales, things aren't exactly the way
we think they are.
White and Rose Red trek up to the farm where those fables
who can't pass as human live in exile. There they lie in greater
and greater discontent, and they do have a point. Near immortal,
their vistas hold nothing greater than acres of farmland.
But how are you going to keep them on the farm after they've
seen Paree, er, New York?
over from Marvel, Buckingham lends his sure pencils to this
arc. Leialoha's inks give the art a consistency from the previous
arc. For those who remember the jarring changes on The
Sandman from story to story, that appears not to be the
plan here. It's still good, detailed work. And for this week,
the image that sticks the most in my mind is a little corner
of the princesses' discovery of the farm meeting. You will
likely never see a better rendering of a scared and guilty
badger in your life.