Welcome back to another review. This issue goes under the “what the F***” category. To explain why let’s look at the cover of the book. We see Batman and Batwing are tangled up in vines with another person. The first tag line of the series reads, a spectre lurks in the shadows of Arkham. This cover looks good from a distance but at closer inspection the people are not detailed and only drawn ok. The good part of the cover is the tag line, it’s a good lure for the reader.
We begin our story with Batwing fighting a thing that looks like a ghost tuxedo while both of them are falling. Seriously? What is with this comic and people falling? Every issue someone is falling at least one story. As for the character designs, both of them are in weird angles, I can’t determine if they are drawn well. The pair crash in an industrial park where Batman is waiting for Batwing. We don’t get any good reason how Batman knows that Batwing was going to be there, because he’s Batman I guess. The ghost thing disappears as Batman tells Batwing what the thing is, a good bit of dialog but I won’t tell you for people who want to read the story themselves.
We cut to a cave beneath the two heroes, where Blackfire is walking around. Blackfire is drawn great for a skeleton on fire but adds nothing to the story. On the next page Blackfire walks around the sewers and we get a bunch of good drawing of him but still it adds nothing to the story. At Wayne manor, Batman comes home and Alfred tells him there’s someone in the lounge. It’s Jim Corrigan, one of the people who knows Batman’s secret and the man in the green suit from issue two. Jim Corrigan claims to work for the Spectre and is there to give Batman a message. Jim Corrigan is drawn ok, nothing really special. The Spectre want’s Batman to go to Arkham Asylum. Jim Corrigan tells Batman there’s something other-worldly involved there and it has effects on the gang war. Why is this other-worldly stuff in this story? Jim Corrigan offers Batman help if he’ll help Jim first but of course Batman refuses.
We cut to Arkham Asylum. A patient is following a doctor and asking questions but the doctor ignores him. This adds a good mystery aura to the story. The doctor leads the patient to the sewers where we see two pages of weird cult stuff. The patient is drawn well, but don’t know if the weird cult stuff works for me. We find that the Joker’s Daughter is behind the cult thing. She is drawn ok but needs to be creepier.
In another part of town we see Luke Fox, aka Batwing, and a friend hanging out at his house as an explosion happens outside. Batman calls Luke Fox and tells him to check something out. Luke tells Batman that an explosion happened nearby, but Batman says this task more important. Luke Fox is drawn in a way that he looks like Obama to me. Luke Fox changes in to Batwing and goes to meet Jim Corrigan, where Jim Corrigan asks Batwing for help on a mission. Jim Corrigan casts a spell on Batwing to protect him. Batwing trusts Jim Corrigan only because Batman said he could. The way Batwing is drawn he just looks like a black figure. On the next page Jim Corrigan asks Batwing if he’s ready to help as the sun sets, they are in silhouette and it’s ok.
We return to the Bat-mobile as we see Batman and Alfred are talking about the gang war on the phone. We receive a few great drawings of the Bat-mobile with it racing down the street. Batman tells Alfred that he is going to investigate the latest in the gang war. I want more of this, Batman comics excel when Batman and his enemies are on a some-what level playing field. The Bat-mobile races down the street as Blackfire kneels beside flammable barrels, why aren’t they exploding? The guy is on fire, right? We see Blackfire as he sets a trap for Batman. The issue ends with the Bat-mobile driving toward an explosion, did Blackfire miss or just wanted to block Batman’s way? The issue confuses the hell out of me. I would only read it again if it was in a collection graphic novel.