Yoshinori Natsume DC Comics
As very few of you may know, I�m not a big fan of manga. I think the books are horribly overpriced, and all of them being black and white totally bums me out. Sometimes it may work, but most of the time it feels like a limiting rule within the medium. That doesn�t mean I�m not open to reading a few books, and I�m a big fan of the Initial D series.
I was interested in seeing what the Japanese would do with a character like Batman. After watching Batman Gotham Knight I wasn�t too thrilled. Apart from Kevin Conroy taking back his role of Batman and the first segment�s (Have I Got a Story For You) art style, it was fairly forgettable. That�s disappointing considering how awesome Animatrix was.
So was Japan able to redeem itself with �Death Mask�?
Sadly, no. Like the movie, the story was fairly stock. It was typical Batman wrapped in not-so-awesome Japanese style art. I�m not saying the Japanese aren�t capable of making a good looking book. This just felt very typical and bland. Perhaps some color could have helped, perhaps not. Either way, I wasn�t really digging it.
Unfortunately the art wasn�t backed up by an interesting story. Like is said, it was fairly typical stuff. They did try to touch on a few things like Bruce�s past, but who hasn�t? After Frank Miller�s Batman Year One people should have really stopped trying.
I will admit that it trying to focus on a singular part of Bruce�s pre-Batman life was wise, but the execution was immensely average. It read like a Western writer was doing this book. My advice to Yoshinori Natsume is to do his own thing. I would have been fine if he strayed away from typical super hero conventions.
And don�t even ask me about the characters. I can�t remember anyone�s name and I just reread this book yesterday. All I can say is that there�s a masked killer ripping off people�s face and Bruce is having nightmares. Oh, and there�s this whole thing where the writer suggests Batman�s vigilantly shenanigans is causing Gotham more harm than good.
What super hero comic has tried that? Oh, wait. 99% of them!
I can�t really recommend this to anyone. Manga fans and Batman fans will both probably agree that it�s best that you ignore this book. At $10 you can go grab yourself a Scott Pilgrim book and have a much better time, or you can track down a copy of �Child of Dreams�. I haven�t read it but I hear it�s Batman in a manga done right.