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Gotham Underground #8

Posted: Monday, May 19, 2008
By: Marx Pyle

Frank Tieri
J. Calafiore, Brian Reber (c), Jack Purcell (i)
DC Comics
"And now you know what happens to vigilantes in Gotham City. In my city." Batman

It's Batman versus Vigilante while Gotham City is falling apart from gang war. Johnny Stitches pulls the rug under Penguin by chopping people up, threatening to chop up family and getting a reluctant ally to leave Penguin's side. Things aren't looking good for Penguin or Gotham, but Batman is finally back and I'm left wondering...where the crap did Spoiler go???

I've really enjoyed this mini-series thus far, but unfortunately I have to say that this issue was a bit of a disappointment. This issue seemed like filler.

Sure the fight between Batman and Vigilante was well drawn and brutal. Kudos for that, but it isn't important enough to the overall story to dedicate so much time to it. I mean, Vigilante was barely in this thing. He just popped out of nowhere to shoot Nightwing who was undercover, then pops up again to start shooting Penguin's lackeys. That is when Batman swings in with a Bat-punch (and kick and arm break and...well you get the point). There is just no reason story wise to have that fight eat up so many pages. I'm a little confused about how much time passed during this fight, because it seemed like hours were going by in the rest of the story. I can't believe that fight took that long, so if it didn't where was Batman during the rest of the fighting?

My other gripe, where was Spoiler? My only cringe moment in this miniseries came from Penguin supplying supervillain weaponry to his self-made supervillain gang. There was a touch of the ol' campiness factor in that. But, I forgave it because of the new and mysterious Spoiler. Since she was on the cover of this issue I mistakenly thought should be in this issue. Weird, perhaps she was there, just invisible. I think it is obvious now that the covers have little to do with the story inside the issue, which is unfortunate. I like the idea that all of the covers link up, but there should have been more thought put into which covers go on which issues.

Now the Penguin scene in the Iceburg Lounge was the only thing that really saved this issue for me. Now we see how the criminal world is going to look after this mini-series. I like Intergang's Johnny Stitches. He is a brutal villain who is just too brutal for a less than brutal villain like Penguin (hey, he's no Joker).

Overall, a weak issue for a strong mini-series. I like how Tieri writes the Batman villains and hope to see him write more Batman stories. I just hope he stays away from the temptation of filler issues like this one.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this new power structure plays out in Final Crisis. And I'm hoping that there is a good payoff with Spoiler's identity.

Final Word: This mini-series is a must have for those Batman fans who love the villains just as much as the heroes. This issue isn't on par with the others, but is a necessary chapter in a criminally well written mini-series.



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