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Forgettable Batman fare
on 27 April 2013
I first read this 5 or 6 years ago and had subsequently forgotten the story - the one thing I remembered was that it wasn't that great. I read this again last week and found that I was right the first time - it really wasn't good at all - but that in just a week I'd forgotten most of the story. "Broken City" is just a really, really forgettable Batman book. I couldn't tell you specifically what it's about - something about a child witnessing the murder of his parents (just like Bruce!) which of course makes the case personal to Batman.
We run through a roster of Batman villains - Ventriloquist/Scarface, Killer Croc, Joker, Penguin, blah blah blah - who make faces, shoot guns, get interrogated by Bats and generally do what they usually do before they hustle off and Batman broods in shadows, monologuing some tedious nonsense about whatever. And then it's solved, somehow. The pages run out, so I guess Batman gets the person, solves the case. Ho hum, onto the next adventure.
Brian Azzarello teams up with his 100 bullets co-creator and artist Eduardo Risso who contributes maybe the best thing about the book which is the art. Even if in some scenes he makes Batman look super-beefy so he resembles Bane more than Batman, the art is what sticks out the most. The fearful white eyes in a totally shadowed face is a striking visual.
I wouldn't recommend this as a good Batman book, nor would I say this is even among Azzarello's best. He's done better work elsewhere for DC in "Joker" and "Lex Luthor: Man of Steel" both with artist Lee Bermejo. Azzarello and Risso would years later re-team to write a fantastic Batman story in DC's crappy Flashpoint Event where Batman's origins are reimagined - what if Bruce Wayne was killed by Joe Chill? Would there still be a Batman and Joker and what would Gotham be like? That Batman story was literally the only good thing about Flashpoint. Check out that instead of "Broken City" which is just plain dreariness from start to finish.