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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 January 2013
Like the first "Batman: Black & White" collection, this anthology contains some of the biggest names in comics putting together short Batman stories in black and white, but the overall effect is uneven with some great stories, some awful stories, and quite a lot of so-so stories.

My favourite by far in this collection was the opening story called "Case Study" by Paul Dini and drawn by Alex Ross, which takes a look at the Joker before he became the Joker and questions whether he really is crazy or not. After all, how could a crazy person put together and carry out so many complex criminal schemes? Couple Dini's superb writing with Ross' art and you've got a winner every time.

Dini also contributed an excellent short called "The Bet" where Harley and Ivy, bored while locked up in Arkham, make a bet to see who can kiss the most guards. Drawn by Ronnie Del Carmen in Bruce Timm's style, it's a fun story but if you've read the Dini/DC "Harley and Ivy" book then you'll have already read this as it's included in that book as well (in colour too).

Warren Ellis and Jim Lee's "To Become the Bat" is an effective look back at how Batman developed the skills he has while inter-splicing scenes of a case he's currently working on showing him using those skills. Lee's art is excellent and Ellis masterfully concocts a layered story within just a few pages.

Walter Simonson and John Paul Leon's "The Riddle" riffs on the ever-present Lewis Carroll themes in Gotham by having the Riddler seek out the answer to the unanswered riddle in "Alice in Wonderland" ("Why is a raven like a writing desk?") in the house of a dead billionaire who was obsessed with Carroll. Leon's art is brilliantly zany, taking familiar characters from Wonderland and darkly warping them while Batman appears as a sinister Cheshire Bat.

The rest of the stories have moments that I thought were interesting like exploring what Batman got up to in WW2, or a conversation between Batman and Zsasz while waiting for the GCPD to show up, and some of the art is fantastic. But overall, the book contains a few good stories but mostly only some mildly entertaining stuff - the rest is very forgettable. "B&W, Vol 2" is definitely not a must-read book of the Batman canon.
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