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Batman Chronicles #20

reviewed by JYD

"Batman Chronicles" has always been a very satisfying book--it spotlights "cool" characters and usually features stories and art by (then) up and comers, usually there's someone in there I'd heard of before and respect. #20 is just the same--w/ the pencils of Yvel Guichet to boot! I thought his work on "Harley Quinn" was the best part of the book. It seems like every single issue has a story that just absolutely knocks your socks off. Examples from the past 19 issues include the "Batman, Day 4" storyline last issue, Grayson's first meeting b/t Robin and Batgirl, and Rucka's "Road to NML" stories. This issue...however...just wasn't up to standards. #20 served as a pimp, trying to turn a few tricks w/ us. Extreme? Maybe. It seemed like a bunch of contrived meetings with meta-humans designed to boost awareness of various characters and ignore the story in the process. Well, you'll see what I mean.

"Whippersnappers of Mass Destruction" (Grayson and Guichet): if ever there was a story which served to pimp another series, it was this one. I know nothing about the Relative Heroes, and I'm sure this story was intended to up their exposure, but having met them, I still have no desire to read their series. From whiny to melodramatic, they read like the "Simpsons" with superpowers. Overly hip, if you will. The whole Catwoman angle was contrived and convenient. Grade: C+

"Photo Finish" (Beatty and Zachary): the pimping continues--this time to show off Robin's new stomping grounds. Why not bring in Jade as a school photographer and then have them traipsing off to stop a prep school prank...and then if that wasn't enough, let's bring the dean's dog back from the dead. Ugh. Grade: B-

"The Rage of Angels" (Edgington and Mshindo): the whole purpose of this story was to show off Nightwing and Supergirl (which these weird screwed up wings--when did those happen?). As everything is going to pot in the background, NW is musing over life and we're supposed to be shocked when a bunch of refugees start drowning. Yeah, like that never happens in comics these days every 2 seconds. Grade: C

To conclude: I was not pleased with this issue. Maybe I'm just biased b/c I hate team-ups and don't respond well to superpowered characters. Whatever. It just seems they ignored all the excellent stories of the past for some cheap thrills, pimping some new characters and changes, and have some things blow up good.