Thursday, 2 June 2016

Batman: War Games, Act One: Outbreak Review (Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips)


Stephanie Brown/Spoiler accidentally ignites a city-wide gang war in Gotham and it’s up to the Bat family to end it! 

War Games is soooo boring! Aside from the occasional cameo by a familiar crim like Penguin, Ventriloquist or Hush, it’s Batman and co. fighting no-name gangsters in a vague, rambling plot line that goes nowhere. It’s impossible to care about when it feels so generic and unexciting. I mean, Batman fighting thugs is what he does during a storyline, it’s not usually THE storyline! 

Part of the problem is that War Games has some exceptionally crappy writers taking on most of the narrative. Anderson Gabrych, Devin Grayson and AJ Lieberman are among the worst of the worst and they deliver one monotonous issue after another. The exceptions are Ed Brubaker who contributes one mediocre Catwoman/Spoiler episode and Bill Willingham who writes two ok issues featuring Tim Drake, out of costume, trying to keep Ventriloquist and the Russian mob from gunning down his classmates. 

Indie darling Dylan Horrocks collaborates with Sean Phillips on one Batgirl issue that was pretty meh - Phillips doing a workmanlike job while Horrocks felt very out of his depth with writing action-packed superhero fare compared to his much slower indie comics. Pete Woods and Giuseppe Camuncoli are the only two notable artists who produce some decent pages. 

Overall though, War Games Act One is forgettable garbage. At best it should’ve been a subplot or something to hang one of the Arkham games on where at least you have the gameplay to entertain you. It comes off as a lower stakes version of No Man’s Land which itself wasn’t that great a storyline either. Batman: War Games, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin’!

Batman: War Games, Act One: Outbreak

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