"Rules of Engagement" (Part Six)
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artists: Whilce Portacio (p), Richard Friend (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
It seems DC is hell bent on letting Batman Confidential have art that is, well, iffy (for a lack of a more polite word). I'm not just referring to the artwork in this issue but also in the entire story arc and even artwork that's been shown in upcoming issues. Just when I finished reading Batman Confidential #6 and was about to get to reviewing it, I saw the Batman Confidential solicitation for September 2007, and let me tell you, it doesn't look pretty. Compare the art in Batman Confidential with what Tim Sale is providing in the Superman counterpart, and the disparity becomes all the more glaring. Nevermind Superman Confidential, the artwork here doesnít even measure up to Legends of the Dark Knight, the series that Batman Confidential succeeded.
Onto the story, and since this is the final issue of the title's opening arc, it is an all out no-holds-barred fight. However, given the latter half of the previous issue, this issue is more like a continuation of the fight started there. Having broken into Luthorís stronghold and commandeered one of his jumbo-bots, Batman goes to confront Luthor, take down the bots and liberate America, in that order. There is a twist towards the end of the confrontation whichÖdid not quite work for me. That DC and writer Andy Diggle chose this arc to set up a Luthor-Wayne/Batman confrontation so early in Batmanís career has rubbed me the wrong way from the very beginning. It just doesnít give the "feel" of two powerhouses (business or otherwise) clashing, not like we got from their interactions in "No Manís Land," "World War III" (in Morrison's run on JLA) or for that matter in the DCAU based Batman/Superman movie. While those confrontations were memorable, this one just feels, well, pale, not to mention forced. This is doubly so with the Batman/Superman movie (and other DCAU series), the reasoning for which I lined out in my review of the very first issue of this series.
As for the ending, right off the bat (no pun intended) it reminded me of the Bruce Wayne of The Batman animated series. However, given that it marked Bruceís forming the Wayne Foundation, his heartfelt speech seemed suited to even his Playboy persona and not DCís new-old *NEW* Earth direction for his civilian life.
Conclusion: Full marks for fast paced, decompression-hiding action but even the best action doesnít fully cover the fact that the big "national level" threat here wasnít all that threatening. A rather tame ending to a promising start.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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