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Gotham Underground #6

Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2008
By: Marx Pyle

Frank Tieri
Jim Calafiore, Mckenna & Purcell (i), Brian Reber (c)
DC Comics
Gotham Underground has been a pleasant surprise for me - a nice complex story that brings back a nostalgic feeling for "War Games" and "No Manís Land", except I donít have to buy every Bat book to keep up with the story.

I really enjoyed seeing Batman in his Matches Malone disguise and going in prison to discover the truth about what is happening to the missing villains. As a bonus, he finds out what really happened to the Great White Shark. I also really enjoyed the exciting and gritty fight between Matches Malone and Zsasz from the last issue.

Tieri surprised me by adding the twist that Bane is doing his own plotting. I was thrilled to see this villain that broke Batman (after discovering his identity) being used in a deeper way than just a muscle bound brute. But this twist is mild compared to the ending of this issue when Vigilante shoots Nightwing in a case of mistaken identity.

I have mixed feelings about this arc of Penguin arming punks with the weapons from the exiled villains. First, itís a little campy. Second, all of the villains have their weapons in Salvation Run (which doesnít really make sense, but anyway), so Iím not sure how this army of thugs could have them. Oh well, the inclusion of the mysterious Spoiler makes up for it. Who is she? I love how Tieri and Calafiore played with this by covering her face up with the panel puzzle design in the last issue.

Iím also digging this anti mask philosophy that Whale is spouting. The earlier flashback to the first masks in Gotham was really neat and I would love to see DC follow-up on that someday.

Iím also curious how Intergang and JigsawÖ I mean Johnny Stitches fits into the puzzle. I like the villain. He fits well with the other psycho Gotham criminals.

The only bad thing about this mini-series is that so much is happening in so few pages that it can seem a little rushed - and honestly is - in a few parts. But by and large, Tieri has done a good job juggling this large cast of characters. A far better job than the story related title Salvation Run. Some characters like Robin and Wildcat are barely in it, but he does a good job in sharing the spotlight between a wide range of characters other than just Batman.

Overall this is a great book that has the grittiness that I love to see from Batman and his insane collection of villains.



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