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Batman And The Monster Men TP [Paperback]

Matt Wagner
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Aug 2006 Batman
Written by Matt Wagner Art and cover by Wagner Matt Wagner takes the Dark Knight through his sophomore season in this new trade paperback collecting the 6-issue miniseries! Batman has spent his first year fighting organized crime - but nothing thus far in his early career as the Caped Crusader has prepared him for the new menace facing Gotham: super-powered villains! Retailers, please see the order form for a special order incentive.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (23 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401210910
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401210915
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 16.9 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 350,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Matt Wagner is one of the most highly regarded creators in the comics business. He is perhaps best known for creating the legendary Grendel titles, many of which he wrote and/or drew. He also provided words and pictures for Batman/Grendel, Mage and Sandman Mystery Theatre. His most recent work is Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so strangely bad 22 Oct 2013
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
Set in the early days of Batman's career, Monster Men follows the epic Year One storyline with a less than stellar volume that shares none of the preceding book's quality. Monster Men has more in common with other early-Batman books that suck like Year Two, The Long Halloween, and Prey, the latter of which this book is a prequel to. It's also a remake of a classic Batman story from 1940, so in theory, this book should be fun - except it's not.

Matt Wagner tells the story no-one wanted to read of how Dr Hugo Strange became so obsessed with Batman in Prey. In this book - and in line with the campy b-movie horror tone of the book's title and original story - Strange is a mad scientist trying to cure genetic defects inherited at birth, in order to create perfect humans. Except his experiments go horribly wrong and wind up giant, brain-dead cannibals. Because he's broke and being hounded by creditors, Strange decides to harness these Monster Men's strength to kill the gangsters he's borrowed money from to get them off his back - enter Batman.

Monster Men could be a fun story - could - but this one isn't because Wagner's treatment of the story is so very unimaginative. The familiar gangsters - Maroni, Falcone, etc. - are still stereotypes, "talkin' like dat, bawss - hey it's da bat!", toothpicks or cigars sticking out of their mouths, flipping coins, while Strange feels like he stepped out of a Hammer horror movie, making long mad-scientist-y speeches from his first appearance and even having a be-turbaned assistant called Rajan! I know this latter point is intentional as this book is supposed to echo cheesy horror movies and the 1940 Batman story, but it just doesn't work here as the tone is far too serious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bat-Man Year Two 5 Sep 2013
By No More Mr. Mice Guy TOP 100 REVIEWER
This story – Batman And The Monster Men TP – was first published as a six-part mini-series in 2006, as part of a ‘Bat-Man Year Two’ series that retells some original stories from the first year of Batman’s adventures in Detective Comics, while continuing the continuity from Batman The Long Halloween TP ‘Year One’ series. The next episode is collected as Batman And The Mad Monk TP (Dark Moon Rising), by the same writer/artist – Matt Wagner, and the story continues from there in Ed Brubaker’s Batman The Man Who Laughs TP (Joker).

This is a fairly straightforward serial, as Batman is called in by Captain Jim Gordon to investigate some gruesome murders that are coming to light, while at the same time as Bruce Wayne he is seriously dating Julie Madison, daughter of Gotham business magnate Norman Madison, who has fallen on hard times and has been borrowing money from gangster Sal Maroni, one of Carmine Falcone’s underlings. Also borrowing money is Professor Hugo Strange, who is carrying out expensive genetic experiments, and creating Monster Men, whose feeding habits are providing the gruesome body parts. Hugo decides that paying back Maroni with his own money is an economical use of his Monster Men’s time, eventually bringing Batman calling. It all ends in a big showdown at Falcone’s country estate, where Maroni is hiding out, Norman Madison is visiting to pay his debt, and Batman, Strange and the Monster Men all gatecrash.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I'm a product of this city" 5 Dec 2011
Taking place after Batman: Year One, Batman is still something of a recent media phenomenon whose appearances on the news are part novelty and part analysis. After what appears to be some sort of animal attack has left a severed arm in the sewer leads to a quick encounter with Jim Gordon, we get a reference to the final actions from Year One. It acts as a reminder that Jim is thankful for Batman saving his baby boy and enables us to think of Batman as someone with a strong sense of humility. There's a strong mutual respect between the two, and their co-existence as fighters against crime is developing further.

This is a new introduction to Dr. Strange and his maniacal plans to use genetics to enhance humanity beyond our current 'limitation'. This comic crosses the line between edgy realism and fantasy. The way Bruce conducts his personal life, and the gang culture which infests the city are grim aspects which feel quite real, but the 'monster men' who are the by-product of Strange's genetic experiments are less plausible - though their grotesque appearance makes them formidable opponents, especially when combined with the intellect and passion of Strange himself. The monster-men do provide one of the best fights ever for our caped hero, it's a close fought thing and Bats risks losing more than just his cowl and a shoe. Batman and the Monster Men gives us insights into Bruce Wayne's personal life and how his glamorous lifestyle may be the envy of those around him even though Bruce has little time to actual enjoy it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TALE OF BATMAN'S EARLY CAREER 31 Aug 2006
By Tim Janson - Published on
"Batman & the Monster Men" collects the six issue limited series into trade paperback format and is written and illustrated by Matt Wagner. Wagner sets this story in early Batman history, just about a year or so after the caped crusader first made his appearance in Gotham City. One of the advantages of setting a story in the past like this is that it gives the writer some poetic license to re-envision things as he likes and Wagner takes advantage of this in several ways. One is in the introduction of the Batmobile after Batman's first remote controlled, and rather mundane looking vehicle is destroyed in a crash. There's a rather amusing scene in the book when Alfred sees the car for the first time and wonders why Batman doesn't add tailfins to make it look even more like a bat...and idea that Batman takes quite seriously.

Another new Wagner take is Batman's first encounter with Professor Hugo Strange. Strange first appeared in Detective Comics #36. His appearance actually preceded the first appearance of the Joker by a couple of months. In this story, Strange is regarded as a rather crackpot scientist doing work in genetic research. He rounds up lost, homeless men off the streets to use as test subjects, and eventually mutates several into hulking monsters with a taste for human flesh. Besides Strange, the story's other main villain is local mobster Sal Maroni who is loaning Strange the money for his experiments. What he doesn't know is that Strange is using his monsters to bust up illegal gambling houses run by Maroni and stealing the money. He's using the mobster's own money to pay him back!

A subplot involves Bruce Wayne's girlfriend Julie Madison whose father is wealthy industrialist Norman Madison whose financial troubles also force him to go to Maroni for a substantial loan. Batman has an early encounter with three of Strange's monsters and barely escapes with his life. The battle shows how resourceful Batman is, even at this early stage. Meanwhile Strange is fascinated by Batman's sheer ability and wants to use his DNA for future experiments.

"Batman & the Monster Men" is the perfect story for Wagner's grim and gritty art style. Even the few daytime scenes are overcast against a pink sky giving the story a very noir-ish feel to it. Jim Gordon has not become commissioner yet, holding the rank of Captain, but he's already established a rapport with Batman and doesn't hesitate to call him in when the mutilated bodies are found at the illegal gambling operations. Look quick at the newspaper article about a criminal called the "Red Hood" who falls to his death in a vat of chemicals. This is, of course, reference to the identity of man who would later become the Joker.

Wagner shows why he is one of the best!

Reviewed by Tim Janson
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Action packed character study. The best of both worlds 29 Dec 2006
By Steven Scott - Published on
Batman and the Monster Men takes place roughly one year into Batman's career. It's a retro story placing an older storyline into current continuity and has Batman dealing with the mafia as usual, but for the first time faces a much greater challenge he's never dealt with before.

At this point in his career, Batman believes he is on the brink of putting an end to organized crime in Gotham once he puts an end to the much talked about, but never seen, Carmine Falcone's operations. In addition to the Dark Knight, our main cast of characters includes Professor Hugo Strange, Sal Maroni, Jim Gordon, Julie Madison (Bruce Wayne's love interest), and her father Norman Madison.

What initially brought this novel to my attention was Matt Wagner. I had read Trinity and enjoyed his thoughtful insights on the characters as well as his beautiful artwork. Some have criticized Wagner's illustrations as being too simple, but he captures the characters' facial expressions and mood so vividly, you don't even need to read the text to know what they're thinking about. And speaking of dialogue, the characters have some great lines in addition to solid character development through their inner thoughts. Typically, I'm used to just reading stories told from one character's perspective, but in Monster Men, we get to know each of the previous characters listed personally through their thoughts, which was a unique way of narrating. There were a few times in Trinity where I wasn't sure if Wagner quite had Batman's character down, but here he nails his personality exactly how he should be portrayed. Dark, moody, secretive and most importantly, determined.

I won't give away too much of the main plot, but basically going into this, expect things to get mysterious and action packed about halfway through. Once the action starts, it doesn't slow down. I must say, this is one of the more violent Batman stories I've read in a while, up there with DKR. Let's just say the monster men have a taste for human flesh. It was also nice to be able to see Sal Maroni in a starring villain role, considering he is later notorious for creating Two-Face, but I never really knew much about his past up until now.

If this novel has any faults they're minor. Bruce's girlfriend, Julie, wasn't the most fascinating love interest he's ever had. At times she seemed like she wasn't very necessary to the overall plot and was only used when it was convenient. She often would talk playfully in legal terms just to remind us she was a going through law school and that got a bit irritating after awhile, but I wouldn't have necessarily written her out. Her father Norman plays a more important role and goes through the most character development out of any other. I would have liked to see Gordon used a little bit more, but this wasn't his story, and the times he is focused on are well written. I always enjoy reading stories of Batman and Gordon early in their careers and their controversial "partnership" taking form.

Wagner also remembers the little details, such as the creation of the bat-mobile and Alfred's suggestion to put fins on it to make it more bat-like. Putting Vicky Vale's name on the newspaper article featuring the Red Hood on the first page. Setting up Maroni's vendetta against Harvey Dent. The line after Gordon asks "Are you joking?" to which Batman responds, "I'm no joker". It's the small stuff that makes it feel that much more like a Batman novel and not just a generic story you could stick any other random DC hero in and have it feel the same. It's always a pleasure reading something like this when you can sense the author truly gets it and makes it his own. Don't pass this one up.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not the best 3 Jan 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Batman and the Monster Men" isn't bad. In fact, it's probably pretty good if you enjoy seeing the Dark Knight going against super-powerful adversaries. Personally, I prefer to have him go up against clever but non-super foes such as Joker, Penguin or a criminal scientist, or even a villain with offbeat and somewhat limited powers such as Bane or Matt Hagen's version of Clayface. I'm a longtime Batman fan, so I can enjoy just about anything featuring him; but I've read better, and probably won't re-read this one too often.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Golden Age Like Batman Story 30 Sep 2012
By Julian Pope - Published on
I liked this book, not every Batman graphic novel is going to be Year One or The Long Halloween or The Dark Knight Returns, I know fans wish they would be, but thats not the way it works, those books are as good as they are because of that special rare blend of talent and circumstance. Matt Wagner's dual volumed Batman story (Batman and the Monster Men & Batman and the Mad Monk) read to me almost like an updated golden age Batman story with a side of violence and sadism of course. Not having been a big fan of Wagner's (couldn't even finish Trinity) I'm not sure what I initially expected. Being of the more few artist/writers these days, projects can be more difficult as you are doing double duty one may suffer from lack of attention in hopes that at least the other may flourish. With Wagner's Batman story, the art isn't the best, although better than acceptable in my opinion, the writing is good and the stories are even better. Overall Monster Men was the better book but Mad Monk was darker and better ended. I rented these books at my local library, I suggest checking yours for them as well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recomended 9 Feb 2009
By B. S. Barker - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First off I'd like to say this belongs right beside Long Halloween and Year One. A very satisfying read. Don't overlook this one.
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