Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Review: Batman '89 #3

We are at the mid-point of Batman '89, and it's not looking like things will get better.  The story opens with Dent carrying an unconscious Drake out of the burning building. Subsequently the media treats him like a hero, as he contemplates his gubernatorial election run.  Time jump one year later.  Dent is governor and Barbara Gordon is police commissioner. Barbara comes in with the info that Bruce Wayne has been funding the Batman project, who is a small army of mercenaries wearing the costume. But then Dent gets confused and starts to black out.  

We see it is not one year later, but still at the scene of the fire. Dent has been hallucinating. He is pulled out of the fire by Bruce and Drake. As Dent regains consciousness, the spectators gasp in horror as the left side of his face is burned down to the muscles and tendons. Drake reveals he was on the roof feeding his pet birds when the fire broke out, and thinks he saw the arsonists.  Bruce wonders if Drake also saw him with Catwoman.  Dent is rushed to the hospital.  Reporters start hounding Bruce, who does not want to be photographed.  Harvey Bullock shows up and starts questioning Bruce about the fire, but Drake responds he saw the arsonists. Another officer replies they found the suspects in a dumpster (courtesy of Catwoman).  

The press continues to hound Bruce as a hero, as Dent survives the night.  The arson suspects are released on bail, and a nasty "no justice, no peace" mentality starts among the Burnside area.  Meanwhile Bruce offers to fund Dent's reconstruction surgery, while Dent, in his hospital bed, starts to develop a split personality via more hallucinations. When he wakes, he asks Barbara for his coin, and he scratches up one side.  Later, Batman meets Catwoman, hoping to start a romance, but Catwoman gives him a woke lecture while admitting she's seeing a shrink.  Batman wonders if it is Harleen Quinzel. They are interrupted by antifa-like firebombings in the neighborhood.  In his hospital room, watching the news coverage of the riots, Dent flips his coin.  It lands scarred side up. 

As with the previous issues, Dent is the main character, while Batman plays a supporting role. This issue has more plot advancement than issues one and two, but again, Sam Hamm is infusing this story with topical woke-ism. It almost seems like he is using this mini-series as an audition to get hired by Greg Berlanti as a scriptwriter for the DC television shows on the CW.  Yeah, that's the level this comic book is sinking to. In my review of the first issue, I mentioned how years...decades... of anticipation have built up for Sam Hamm to write Batman again.  But after all this time, all this waiting, if this is the best Hamm can come up with- Greg Berlanti type scripts- then I regretfully have to retract my statement from my review of the first issue where I say I would like to see Hamm become the regular writer on the main Batman title.  On the other side of the coin, Joe Quinones is still turning in good artwork. This issue gets a C+, bumped up slightly for more plot advancement, and Bruce given a little more to do, even if he's still in the back seat of the narrative.

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