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Review – The Batman’s Grave #2 (DC Comics)

The Batman's Grave #2 (DC Comics) variant cover (detail) by Jee-Hyung Lee
Overall
6/10
6/10
  • Writing - 5/10
    5/10
  • Art - 7/10
    7/10
  • Overall - 6/10
    6/10
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The Batman's Grave #2

Writer: Warren Ellis
Pencils: Bryan Hitch
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Richard Starkings
Maturity Rating: M
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: November 13th, 2019

In The Batman’s Grave #2 a new threat calling himself “The Eater of Faces” terrorizes Gotham. Can the Dark Knight enter the mind of a killer without digging his own grave?

No Words for The Batman’s Grave #2

Batman comes face to face with “The Eater of Faces”, Gotham’s newest threat in The Batman’s Grave #2. It’s a harrowing chapter of introspection as the Dark Knight continues to work his way into the mind of a killer. But is he digging for clues or digging his own grave?

Writing

The Batman's Grave #2 (DC Comics) main cover by Bryan Hitch
The Batman’s Grave #2 (DC Comics) main cover by Bryan Hitch

So my first thought is “what writing?” There’s almost no script here whatsoever. Entire pages, multiples in some circumstances, pass by without so much as a single speech bubble. Not to say that issue #1 was exactly laden with dialogue, but this is borderline ridiculous. Come on, Ellis. You promised us a great Batman story, so give us one, already! I will never understand how or why creators choose to do this. I was so excited at the prospect of a new Warren Ellis Batman story—now I just feel kind of shortchanged. 

Furthermore, the entire premise of the previous issue I found to be a bit far-fetched. I mean, some dude is literally just waiting beneath the floorboards for Batman to find him, for days on end? How would he go to the bathroom would be my first question. How did he not die of dehydration would be a close second. Finally, how does some crazed Leprachaun-looking-floor-dweller absolutely kick Batman’s ass for fourteen pages in The Batman’s Grave #2? Fourteen pages of zero dialogue, just as a reminder. It doesn’t make sense. 

If I can put this in baseball terms, The Batman’s Grave #2  is the sports equivalent of a batter purposely getting hit by a pitch, so that he can advance to first base. But this isn’t some Minor League player in the box, ladies, and gentlemen, it’s the Great Bambino. So swing, Ellis—swing! 

Art

Thankfully, there’s nothing lacking as far as Bryan Hitch‘s pencil is concerned. While he admittedly doesn’t draw my favorite Batman, damn it if he doesn’t pencil one helluva good-lookin’ Jim Gordon. Take a look at page 22 to get an idea of what I’m talking about; it’s fantastic. He’s also on my shortlist for “Best Depiction of Gotham City”. 

Speaking of Gotham City, Alex Sinclair just gets it. His dreary, gothic palette illuminates the city in such a brilliant fashion. At times it feels as if Sinclair is reinterpreting Van Gogh’s masterpiece “Starry Night”, just with more blacks and a Bat-Light in the sky.  

Conclusion

I don’t like saying negative things or writing negative reviews—especially about Batman! But The Batman’s Grave #2 violated far too many “don’ts”, in my opinion, to walk away unscathed. I mean, this is Warren Ellis we’re talking about here. I mean no disrespect, the guy is an absolute legend; far be it from me to try to tell the guy how to write. But this isn’t Warren Ellis at his best; in fact, it feels as if he’s not even trying. If this is what readers can expect for the duration of The Batman’s Grave, all I can say is that it’s going to be one long, boring funeral procession. 


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Jordan Claes

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