Mini Reviews for 10/20

This article was originally published at ComicBook.com on October 20, 2021.

DC

BATMAN VS. BIGBY! A WOLF IN GOTHAM #2

Sometimes crossovers can favor one side of an odd couple too heavily, but Batman vs. Bigby isn’t a terribly good Batman or Fables comic. On the Batman side of things, Bruce is in his most imposing (and unnecessarily harsh) form, which results in a number of unforced errors. As if disliking Batman weren’t enough, quick narrative sidesteps make him look terribly incompetent—waking up to find his house in disarray. Bigby brings the same overly macho attitude, something so exaggerated that it would have felt out of place even in the earliest issues of Fables when he was at his surliest. It all seems directed to keep the two great detectives at odds while nothing much happens… until the final page, at least. The story is delivered clearly with a clear mood of overt gloom infecting Gotham City, but doesn’t possess many flourishes to distract from the drag of a story on the page. It’s a long, slow sequence featuring one character Willingham has written to great effect in the past. With the Batman side of things looking no better than “War Games” and Fables failing to recapture its charm, it appears this miniseries missed its mark by many years. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Other Publishers

ICE CREAM MAN #26

Ice Cream Man #26, like so many issues before it, goes all in on a single bit. In this case it involves inverting the comic book and successive panels neatly juxtaposed in vertical space. It’s a neat bit and perfectly executed here; many pages include split features that would allow a reader to match them neatly together like a puzzle. Whether it creates the intended effect of dropping is questionable as the many Ice Cream Man motifs that appear provide dreamlike distractions, but it does build neatly to a slight twist on the overall concept. The issue also addresses its theme more directly than many issues of Ice Cream Man as it considers lineage and addiction in a story that neatly poses questions, but doesn’t possess the temerity (or snark) to assume it can suggest even pithy answers in such a short space. It’s an intriguing, brief meditation. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

VINYL #5

Vinyl #5 repeats the same flaws evidenced in earlier issues: conflating mental illness with superhero motifs, treating its own premise as being the height of cleverness, presenting familiar scenes without much ingenuity. However, the end of Vinyl #5 clicks in its direct presentation of familiar scenes. Final showdowns land because these pages are well drawn and communicate some emotion this narrative has failed to deliver, and then the first joke of the entire series really lands in a laugh out loud moment on the final page. Credit where it’s due, I’m curious to read Vinyl #6 and that’s a notable improvement. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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