Batman : Hong Kong (French) Paperback – 16 Sep 2007
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Publisher's Weekly, August 25 2003: "...it resembles a Jet Li or Jackie Chan movie, with super-heroes who should appeal to a broad range of readers and interests." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There are many negatives: the plot is not only dull and badly paced, but has several huge holes and logic gaps in it; the dialogue is simply awful, bordering on a parody of cliched bad comic book writing; and worst of all, Batman is written very badly and out of character - he makes tactical mistakes in fights, is instantly trusting of his new ally, spends most of the book swinging around the city admitting that he is one-step behind everyone else, and is spotted in public by about 300 people over the course of the book. It's hardly the mysterious Dark Knight that we've come to know.
The only good thing I can say about this title is that the artwork, fusing manga and traditional art, is pretty good - but it's far from jaw-dropping, and isn't even close to making the book worth buying.
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Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Tony Wong
Inker: Tony Wong
Collects: This book is an original graphic novel.
Well, I really wonder which came first on this book: the artist or the writer. I can see the novelty of having a manga artist on a book whose primary setting is Hong Kong. That makes sense, I guess. But was the story written first and then the artist selected, or was the artist selected and then a story written up for him? I don't know, but I'd like to. For me, it seems like something didn't quite work out right. The way the artwork leaps from purely pencils to all-out painted work was also a little jarring. Was this the plan from the get-go? Did the artist not have enough time to finish his work the way it was intended to be? Again, I don't know, but I'd like to.
In this story, Batman travels to the gateway of the orient in pursuit of a murderer who has left the scene of his Gotham crimes and headed back to where he came from. Batman certainly loses much of his home turf advantage in this new locale, and he ends up over his head without allies in the city. He gains an ally in the form of a young man who is also on the trail of the murderer. This man manages to secretly watch and track Batman's actions and then decides to model his own vigilante activities on Batman's. He dons a new costume (where did he get his from in a single afternoon?), grabs a bunch of martial arts weapons (where, again, did these come from?), and continues to follow Batman's trail (highly unlikely) to a point where he jumps in and saves Batman's life from a crowd of heavily armed thugs. Hmm... am I the only one who finds this hard to swallow?
Anyway, Batman readily teams up with this person whom he knows nothing about (totally out of character), endorses his actions (without any reservations - again, totally out of character), and the two set off to find the mastermind behind the murders. At the same time, the two heroes get mixed up in an internal war between Hong Kong Triad gangs and the Hong Kong police forces.
While the story may not be compelling to me, it wasn't entirely pathetic. It had some OK moments, but they were few and far between. This is probably the weakest story I have read from Doug Moench, and it's painful for me to say that. I have read some really good stuff from this guy, so this was pretty disappointing. It seemed either very amateurish or very rushed and didn't enthrall me at all.
The artwork was OK in places, but this "manga superstar" did little to win me over. I know I mentioned this several times before, but I'm going to say it again: I don't like Manga artwork. It lacks the realistic look you see in many western comics and makes all women look like doe-eyed little school girls with a sharp point for a nose. I read this book in spite of the manga artwork, not because of it. After reading the book, my overall opinion of manga work is unchanged. It's OK if it's in a story for kids, about kids, but, like sushi, I don't want it in my regular diet.
I pretty much found this book to be below average in most every respect. Right after reading it, I thought it was merely OK, but know that I sit down to write about it and think about it some more, I realize that I really didn't care for it, and would have been extremely disappointed had I spent the exorbitant cover price for the book. I really can't recommend this book to anyone who isn't a die-hard Batman or manga fan.
Cool Factor: 6/10
Overall, I must say that this graphic novel was a disappointment. The action was OK, but the storyline seemed to never take on a real sense of urgency. Instead, you are left with Batman walking around, clueless as to what is really going on around him, unable even to speak the language. To make matters worse, the illustration work is a little off. Batman's cape moves around, looking like an octopus on his back that is continuously trying to grab the passing walls. Also, there are some silly errors, like the black limousine that is called a white limousine, and the TV executive that walks into the room and immediately announces, "Yes, I do speak English..." for no apparent reason. (The secretary had announced him in Chinese.)
But, when you come down to it, the biggest problem with this Batman story is that it is simply boring. The story has no real sense of suspense or drama, and the fight scenes are not enough to carry it along. I did not enjoy the time I spent reading this book, and I wish I had spent them on a better book.
-awesome artwork that feels modern yet captures the manga feel (without seeming completely like the "typical" manga forms), and the coloring is magnificent. Half the fun in reading, for me, was admiring the colors and special adornments layered on top of the art.
-a Batman story where he ultimately finds an ally and through teamwork works out the mystery...some readers might find this a departure from a typical Batman-knows/figures-out-all portrayal; I liked it.
Would have been five stars but the story ends quickly, and I wanted to read more and see what happens afterwards beyond what is depicted!