Nothing really remarkable happens in this issue, save for the fact that Etrigan has a throwdown with a demon-possessed Ragman. Yes, I got sucked into another sub-standard comic book by a promising image of Etrigan on the cover, but no more I tell you, no more!
After suffering through an Etrigan appearance in “Green Arrow,” I promised myself I wouldn’t give in again, but the stunning David Finch cover was too smooth to pass by. Finch, however, doesn’t draw anything inside this book which is capably rendered by Jason Fabok. Fabok’s style is similar enough to David Finch’s that this book has a strong sense of continuity as far as the art goes. The story, however, is well, a different, um. . . story.
David Finch dials up a story that really doesn’t do much in this issue save for revealing a bit about the past of Dawn Golden and bringing Blaze into the battle between Etrigan and Ragman. Golden’s story is yawn-inspiring, and the end result is a Batman-type story that just feels outdated and uninteresting.
Finch even goes so far as to fumble Etrigan’s rhymes, making him little more than a cipher that could easily be any old demon or maybe even a crony of the big bad in the issue. The lack of rhyming is explained away in this issue, but Finch doesn’t sell it. Etrigan here just feels forced, the inclusion of Ragman is unnecessary, and the fact that it is all tied to Batman just doesn’t work right in this issue. I appreciate Finch trying to up the ante with this story, blending in characters and circumstances currently untouched in the dozen other Bat-books, but it just doesn’t spring from the page.
Nothing about this book makes me want to come back for more, especially when my limited Bat-finances could be spent on books written by Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, or even Peter J. Tomasi. I guess I could be optimistic and hope that Finch might be sandbagging for the September relaunch. Maybe then we’ll get more exciting Batman stories in “The Dark Knight.”