"Rules of Engagement (Part Three)"
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artists: Whilce Portacio (p), Richard Friend (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Every few years or so along comes a story that has one simple purpose: the retelling of a previous and oft told tale not as an exact copy of the original one but one that is updated to include the latest times and technologies of its print date. Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, the X-Men, any major character and/or team you take, has had at one time or another such a retelling, some multiple times over. Such is the case with this third issue of the latest Bat-mythos building series, the replacement and ideological successor of the long running and recently ended Legends of the Dark Knight. Heck, even LotDK had its own take on the "early" days of the Batman.
As with the Post-IC standing of that guy from Metropolis, even Batman seems to have been changed in order to reflect his movie version. Thankfully though, it is nowhere near the level of "modifications" that Messrs Johns and Donnor have made and continue to make to the Man of Steel. For Batman, the biggest shift comes in form of the Techy Fox as against the Business Guru-Fox of yore. As for Captain James Gordon, that part was there even before Batman Begins.
Regarding the story itself, in this issue Batman breaks into LexCorp central, Lex continues with his double dealing and wins the contract, Batman and Gordon talk, the Batwing (or at least an earlier version of it) debuts and Luthor comes up with a novel Bat-way to track the elusive Batman, with what else but a, uh, bat, a robotic bat to be exact. There is nothing major here that veteran Bat-readers wouldn’t have seen or read before, yet for the younger/newer Bat-boys and gals as also those who came into the Bat-world after Batman Begins, well, they get to see another step in the making of the Legend of the Dark Knight. Oh sorry, I should have said that they get to see yet another Confidential file in the making of the Batman.
Lastly comes the art and even though I am used to the duo of Whilce Portacio and Richard Friend (having seen them recently on Wildstorm’s Wetworks), the artwork of this series has been widely panned. The biggest negative (according to me)? The over-extended shading and wee-tiny chins. The biggest positive? The emotions conveyed by characters, both by their facial expressions and by their eyes.
Conclusion: A classic in the making it sure isn’t but as far as getting an "early days" Bat-story across to the readers, both old and new, Andy Diggle’s opening arc of Batman Confidential makes for a more than adequate read.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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