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Batman: Gotham By Gaslight – Kryptonian Age #2 review

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight – Kryptonian Age #2 review

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Last month’s issue Krypton Age It made me wish I had more to chew on. But don’t they say you should be careful what you wish for? I guess we’ll see if this month manages to feature a more central story.

Where does he find such a rich plot?

If last month wasn’t enough to chew on, this issue had me ready to explode. Not only did we get to see the continuation of the fight between Batman and Talia, but we also got to see two Other subplots are introduced, including Dr. Adam Strange’s arctic escapade and the emergence of Queen Victoria’s spiritual advisor, John Constantine.

Wow.

That’s too much plot. My main problem with the last book was that there wasn’t enough to keep me fully invested. So now we have even less because the same amount of time is split between three plots in total. It’s not bad for the main story between Bruce and the League of Assassins because we already know more about them. The Strange and Constantine stories are more noticeably affected by this. They all have elements I like, but they’re not long enough for me to fully commit to them.

Let’s at least review the story. Let’s look at all three. Adam Strange has come to the “end of the world” on Bruce Wayne’s orders. We’re told that his compass and stellar navigation won’t work here. The stars aren’t right. We then see that the Expired has found the ruins of the Kryptonian Age. Seeing the city itself reminds me of the legends of El Dorado and other such “lost cities”. The engravings on the ruins really intrigue me as to what the Kryptonian Age will be. I wish I could have seen a little more of it before I saw the next thing.

Now we’re back to the scene where Bats fights Talia on the train. The dialogue in this scene seems a bit slower than the last one. I can clearly see that the characters are supposed to speak in a way that is appropriate for the time period. Bruce doesn’t, and he just looks a bit odd and blocky. The line “Why is the League of Shadows hunting down these ancient relics and killing those who possess them?” seems a bit too explanatory. Readers should know that by now, we don’t need Batman to explain it to us again.

The saving grace for me is the use of gadgets in this fight. It would make sense for a Victorian Batman to carry acid with him, and he uses it to melt a sword. The grapnel gun appears to be made from a modified shotgun, which is pretty close to the period. It’s pretty basic, but it feels more like the period to me than the dialogue.

We then cut back to Queen Victoria’s bedroom at Balmoral Manor. A member of staff tells her that she is needed because there is an intruder in the cellar. This intruder turns out to be none other than John Constantine. It turns out that he works for the Queen and has an interest in various artifacts from the Kryptonian Age. They all start glowing and ask when it happened. After revealing that it was after the “Carrington Incident”, the monarch immediately sentences her to be hanged. It quickly becomes apparent that this was all a ruse to fake her death so that she could serve the British Empire despite her past.

Faster than Flash

If that sounds like a lot of story, that’s because it is, and not even all of it! The rest of the issue gives us more glimpses of Bruce and Strange, and hints at the Amazons being involved. Oh my God, what an overstuffed comic! Seriously, there’s just too much going on here. The pacing feels rushed and I feel like I’m seeing something new and different every second. Overall, it just feels like there’s a bit too much going on, and not enough in the individual stories.

Fernandez comes to save the day to save the book’s bacon. The art in this issue was phenomenal. The train fight has to be a highlight for me. One image that particularly stands out is Batman’s body shot. He’s cut, bloody, and his teeth are scratched, the glare from the street below reflecting off of him as he raises his fist. It’s truly magnificent.

The coloring works just as well. The gore in this issue looked particularly good. The train fight comes to mind again. The fight showcases the creative team’s visual talent, with background colors that perfectly match the dark tones of the characters. Fernandez and Stewart have recaptured the essence of Mignola’s gassy Gotham more than any other artist. It feels like a great visual sequel, and the character designs continue that sentiment.

I mentioned the Batman and Assassins costumes in my last review and the quality continues. The scout suits and Amazon outfits feel like a Gotham By Gaslight version of things we’ve seen before. The strangest thing for me is Constantine’s design. His spindly head is an odd look for someone I associate with a fuller head, but it feels period-correct.

If recommended…
  • Mingola-like art appeals to you
  • information overload is a hobby
  • You really want to see a good fight scene. Seriously, it’s the best thing in the book.
Comprehensive:

This time it’s more of a mixed bag. All the story elements are of interest to me, they really are. They just move too fast for me to invest in any major details. The illustrations are great and a good looking book will keep me reading. You need good writing to make it memorable. Here’s how to read this Absolute power it comes out pretty good. Nice looking books, with writing that lets it down. I know setups can be a risky bet. I hope he can cash in the next chips.

Goal: 6.5/10


DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.