Monday, 11 January 2016

Batman: Blink Review (Dwayne McDuffie, Val Semeiks)

Lee Hyland is a blind grifter with a superpower: when he touches you, he can see through your eyes for a time. He uses this ability to spy on his marks until they take a look at a bank statement and then he uses that info to clean them out. That is until one day his latest mark kidnaps and murders a woman, inadvertently getting Lee involved with the mob - Batman to the rescue! 

Blink was a stinker. This was, at best, a weak Batman subplot that got streeetched into six long issues (that felt way longer) by Dwayne McDuffie. It’s actually two different story arcs and both are pretty bad. The first one is a really sketchily-written story about how Batman uses Lee to catch some nameless gangsters - or something to that effect because it’s that poorly written. The bad guy is some balding guy in glasses - totally forgettable. 

The second is about Batman saving Lee from the government after he volunteers to spy on international villains for them using some Cerebro-type machine - more vague plotting. I guess Lee’s just born with these powers but it’s never clear exactly how they work, like how long can he see through the person’s eyes and if he touches someone else, does that mean he loses the other person’s vision or can he switch between them? Can he see through anything with a set of eyes? He can see through his dog’s eyes as well as human eyes. 

It doesn’t really matter though as in the second story any conceit about touching people to see through their eyes is thrown out the window because McDuffie didn’t know how to conclude this arc without some hack nonsense. Also, good thing when he was looking through Batman’s eyes that, in the Batcave, Alfred never called him “Master Bruce” like he always does! And why is it the murderer in the first story kills his victims in an empty lot, completely out in the open, in broad daylight, making it easier to stop him? Lots of convenience in this script…

It’s a Legends of the Dark Knight story meaning it’s from early in Batman’s career which is why he finds these nothing goons a challenge supposedly because he’s not as capable yet. McDuffie’s inconsistent though as Batman can take out a room of armed soldiers single-handedly in one scene and then struggle with one armed thug in another! It also means that awful unreadable cursive script throughout because Batman’s apparently writing this down as a casefile for later review. 

Blink’s stories bored me throughout; the plotting was rote and sloppy as well as everyone besides Lee being written as a one-dimensional “character”. Val Semeiks’ art never really felt distinctive or interesting either – it’s standard, competent, dull superhero art. Definitely not a must-read for Batman fans - I didn’t get anything positive out of this one at all.

Batman: Blink

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