“The Monster Men are… coming. Aren’t they… Strange…”
The Monster Men are here! Steve Orlando’s crossover event is unveiled in this week in [easyazon_link identifier=”B01HC7RJW0″ locale=”US” tag=”bounintocomi-20″]Batman #7[/easyazon_link]. While Tom King and Orlando are on for story, it’s Orlando who’s credited with writing the script. While the series artists are in between arcs we have Riley Rossmo along for the ride. He continues the great work he began in the final issue of Batman’s New 52 series.
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It’s a stormy night in Gotham. An eerie haze keeps Batman’s attention while the real action takes place in the city’s morgue. To no one’s surprise, our Dark Knight is on edge. After the recent events of Detective Comics he’s hellbent on saving every single person he can. Batwoman and Nightwing are taking a more realistic approach while the rest of the Detective team are elsewhere.
While the “monsters” themselves are eye-catching, it’s disappointing to have another Batman issue where the central villain has barely more than a cameo. Hugo Strange and his cohort Psycho-Pirate have been teasing the arrival of these monster men since the Rebirth debut. Yet they remain in the shadows, occupying only one or two pages at a time. While lacking a strong antagonist, Batman #7 is still a great beginning to this wonderfully horrific event.
There’s a storm a-brewing. Batman and team are hitting the ground running as a massive hurricane threatens Gotham with destruction on the level of Scott Snyder’s Zero Year event. While the team are dispersed to handle different tasks, the larger threat bursts from Gotham’s morgue in awe-inspiring fashion. The grotesque creature serves as a visual treat thanks to Riley Rossmo’s excellent design. Monsters may seem a bit out of his league, but as always Batman is not without a plan. Using a mixture of tech and bravado he and his two backups put on an entertaining show. The epic display is one of the many references to the “kaiju” stories that so obviously influenced this one. Nothing like the modern horror story, with jump scares and over-the-top gore. This is 70’s Monster mash-ups at their best. By mixing that with a great Batman story, Orlando and King have begun what is sure to be an exciting adventure.
While the monsters in this issue make for entertaining enemies, the lack of the series main villain is a detriment to this installment. Crossover events need to drive the reader to buy the next issue. Outside of their favorite heroes spending time in each other’s stories, a strong antagonist is what really makes these events so special. Every glimpse of Hugo Strange has been terrifying and exciting. It’s surprising, then, that he makes such a small appearance in this debut. Clearly there’s a large plot at work here. But without a clear idea of the endgame, other than one cryptic line by Strange, it does little but steal attention away from the more interesting monsters. Strange’s absence may not pull you out of the story but it does leave you wanting more.
While Mikel Janin prepares for Batman’s next arc, Riley Rossmo takes the pencil for this issue. Coming off of the DCYou’s beautiful Hellblazer series, Rossmo shows his talent with beautiful costume and creature designs. Every character is as striking as ever, with Batwoman looking particularly amazing thanks to Ivan Plascencia’s colors. Their partnership creates a perfect interpretation of a horror classic set in a modern Gotham. While the event continues with other artists it’s inspiring to see it get off to a bewitching start.
The Monster Men have come fairly early into the newly Rebirth’d DC Universe. While crossovers plagued a good portion of the New 52, “Monster Men” appears to be a different beast. As Steve Orlando accompanies each of the titles’ main writers he’s able to direct the story in a way that feels natural and fluid. Referencing the kaiju’s that made Japanese 70’s flicks into cult classics, the team makes an interesting and exciting challenge for Gotham’s finest. Behind the scenes, Hugo Strange seems to be pulling all the strings. But without a significant impact his appearance acts as little more than a reminder of his existence. A missed opportunity to make him as terrifying as the creatures he’s unleashed. But still the pages of [easyazon_link identifier=”B01HC7RJW0″ locale=”US” tag=”bounintocomi-20″]Batman #7[/easyazon_link] are filled with thrilling, monster-bashing action featuring the one and only Batfamily. As the start of an event meant to thrill and chill, Orlando and King have given the “Monster Men” one hell of an entrance.
- Interesting Premise
- Beautiful Design Work
- Thrilling Action
- Absence of Central Villain