So Batman didn’t really change that much in the new 52. While most of my disregard for DC’s comic books stems from my dislike of their rebooted continuity, my distaste for this comic boils down to the generic nature of the story and the generic nature of most of the art.
I’ve never been a fan of Tony Daniel as a writer, and this trade doesn’t change my mind. The first story is the strongest. Scarecrow sends Batman on a quest to save a little boy, and when Bats gets there, he finds out he’s much too late. It’s an interesting take on a classic story. How can Batman save everyone?
After a crossover with Night of Owls (and man, I’m amazingly tired of those stories already), Daniel transitions to a cloning story featuring the ridiculously named Mr. Toxic. The art doesn’t really help this story feel like anything more than a generic Gotham story. I never really cared for the scientist cloning himself, and only the opening chapter with the Batman robbers felt unique.
The Black Mask story that makes up the next few issues doesn’t make sense. I don’t remember Black Mask having mind-control powers like Mad Hatter, so I felt confused through the entire story. Did I miss that? And again, the art doesn’t do the story any favors, with muddy panels and faces that look like they were rushed.
The final story? I’ll never know. I hate to be mean, but Szymon Kudranski’s art was illegible to me in Green Lantern, and it is just as confusing here. I honestly couldn’t figure out what was happening from panel to panel. So I just gave up. I read just about everything I can get, but I put this book down unfinished. It just wasn’t worth trying to figure out the story.
So average at best story supported by awful art? Yeah, this is an EVIL comic.