Batman 23.1 – Joker
Cover: 5 – There was nothing special at all about this cover. The “HA HA HA” part didn’t leap off the page, it was kind of an ugly, wrinkly joker, but the pistol from some angles came out right over my shoulder. Mediocre.
Story: 8 – I loved this story. It was creepy, sad, funny, disturbing, and had a great ending. The delusional back story was perfect gibberish, the baby gorilla was awesome, and after reading it, it was impossible to tell what was real and what was just Joker’s broken and incorrect memories. I really, really liked this. I liked it more than the Death of the Family story, which is probably sacrilege, but I thought this was a ton of fun.
Batman 23.2 – Riddler
Cover: 8 – I liked the question mark staff pushing out into the readers’ face. I liked his grin. I liked how the “R” in Riddler was a question mark.
Story: 9 – I thought the art was stiff, but the story showed a Riddler that is new to me. Possibly autistic or obsessive compulsive, he demands structure and perfection but balances it with riddles and puzzles. Weirdly violent and dark, this was one of the best portrayals of a villain in all of the villain titles.
Batman 23.3 – Penguin
Cover: 6 – Cool smoking gun, cool backdrop (one of the only ones), terrible Penguin face.
Story: 7 – First seven pages were terrible. I tried to get excited about the evilness of the Penguin when he orders the cheaters family’s killed, but he does it after they’re dead, so they didn’t even know about it. I did like the rest of it. Murder and blackmail and suicide; Very Penguiny. I really liked the old yearbook with the bullies in it and how they’d all met an early demise. He’s not had much to do in the New 52 (not sure if that mini-series a couple years back was New 52 or not), and what he’s been in hasn’t been very good (although I liked the Emperor Penguin story), but this gave a very good portrait of a man who knew his weaknesses, knew everyone else knew them too, and was hellbent on revenge against those who thought they could take advantage of him. It’s too bad the first seven pages at the Casino were so dumb.
Batman 23.4 – Bane
Cover: 2 – Not worth the effort in making it 3D.
Story: 2 – Dumb and boring. The previous comment refers to what I thought of the story as well as how the story presented Bane. Too bad. The other stories in the Batman line were all pretty strong. This one stunk.