Comic Review: Batman Black & White #4 (DC Comics)

DC’s Batman Black and White returns with issue 4. This provides us with some fun moments, in and on top of the misty murky rooftops of Gotham city. There’s something […]

DC’s Batman Black and White returns with issue 4.

This provides us with some fun moments, in and on top of the misty murky rooftops of Gotham city. There’s something refreshing about this rain-soaked title; it’s like the busted skylights are letting in the moonbeams.

Our hero Batman, ever clinging to the memory of his mother’s falling pearls, the bats in the belfry screeching and ringing out in guano-covered misery and semi-madness. Ah, to flap it all away and swing into action. And so yes, this issue includes the tried and true tropes, but they are mixed with a sense of playfulness.

There are five stories in Issue 4, plus the usual covers, variants, and pinups. It’s a good mix, with writers including Joshua Williamson, Karl Kerschl, Chip Zdarsky, Daniel Warren Johnson and Becky Cloonan (who also illustrates the cover!)

Story artists include Riley Rossmo, Karl Kerschl, Nick Bradshaw, Daniel Warren Johnson and Terry and Rachel Dodson. And of course, like the man says, it’s all here in black and white. Colourists get the day off.

While I’m not a big fan of ‘off-model’ superhero stories, in this case, I really enjoyed seeing the ‘Indie/Alt Batman’. Exaggerated, streamlined, rough, angular, elastic Batman.

Rossmo’s version was reminiscent somehow of Frank Robbins’ dark and scratchy style.

Kerschl contributes a wildly kinetic, fluidly constructed visual escapade.

Canadian artist Nick Bradshaw, best known for his covers, brings an insanely detailed drawing style to play here with Poison Ivy’s visit to the Stately Wayne Manor. His work benefits from this short story: we get to wallow in the weeds, inspect the minutiae, admire Bradshaw’s microscopic lines and textures without colour.

In contrast, Johnson’s drawings are rough-hewn, sharp-edged, film noir with a dirty camera gate, and full of suggested aggression.

And finally, the Dodsons contribute a beautifully graceful and delicately balanced series of pages that make one truly appreciate the comic art medium. This is a great issue!

DC, Batman Black and White #4, $5.99 for 52 pages of content. For ages 13+

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!