If Kevin Smith wasn't trying so hard to make his comics feel hard core and "adult," I think I'd really like his work. Issue 1 of this series is filled with so much sexual innuendo that I can't even call it that. Poison Ivy is hanging around naked and trying to get Batman to hook up with her. She's so desperate she uses cannabis to try and get ol' Bats to do the deed. He resists, of course, but c'mon. I did enjoy the Demon showing up and "helping" deal with Ivy though. The interesting thing is that Smith has a good handle on the relationships of these characters. The Demon, Batman, Ivy, Robin, they all are acting how they should, just with the adult content ramped up to 11.
Issue 2 opens with Bats taking on Fun Land, a child abductor villain. Again, this is too much for me. Call me simple, but I like comic book villains with comic book goals. I don't need this type of villain in my Batman comics. The rest of the issue has Bats reuniting with Silver St. Cloud and actually considering other parts of his life. I really like the way Smith is leading the reader towards the conclusion that Bats needs a new partner. He is making a good argument with the Robin flashbacks that Batman really does excel with a partner, and bringing Silver back gives Bruce Wayne a good reason for needing more face time back from Batman. Cornelius Stirk was always a gross villain, although never this graphic. But again, while Smith goes too far with the gore, having Stirk give the vision of Bats' desire that the new vigilante arrive to help is a great argument that Batman should take on this hero as a sidekick. I am enjoying what Smith is doing here; I just wish he didn't feel the need to make everything so hardcore.
Walt Flanaghan is a good enough artist that the story is clear. He is good at mood-setting; the Silver scenes seem tranquil, Stirk's scenes are horrific, and the guest-stars all bring the appropriate sense of comfort.