“The Batman’s Grave” – Chapter Seven
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Color Artist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Review by Max Byrne
After an interminable wait, The Batman’s Grave #7 is finally with us! During the almost three month wait since the previous instalment, this writer has been longing for a new fix of Hitch and Ellis‘ smash mouth limited series. With its potent blend of fist fights and procedural deductions, this is a book that can be enjoyed on different levels.
Picking up from the conclusion of #6, it isn’t long before our beloved Caped Crusader finds himself sans transport. In a moment of wonderful deadpan humour, which is a recurrent motif in this title, we get the rare sight of Batman negotiating a path through the daylight denizens of Gotham City, in order to meet his reliable manservant. It shows the versatility in Ellis’ writing, as this is mostly a hard hitting, no punches pulled read, so to get these moments of levity really does help to break up the brutality and lighten the mood, to great effect.
As previously mentioned, the procedural detective processes of the Bat are a key factor in this book, and several pages are devoted to it this time around. It’s great to see Bruce’s deductive mind in full flow, serving as a great reminder as to just why he’s the world’s greatest detective. The way we see him put the puzzle pieces together is wonderfully written, as it follows a logical path, rather than just being a case of him having all the answers straightaway. A leads to B, which leads to C. It feels authentic and is a great insight into his genius mind.
As always, the artwork from Bryan Hitch is right out of the top drawer. His figure-work is astoundingly good, especially his rendering of Batman. Muscled to the point of perfection without being over the top, this is very much a Dark Knight that you would not wish to get in the way of! I also don’t think there’s any working artist that conveys the impact of blunt force trauma as well as Hitch. You can feel every blow, the pain is tangible and raw. In a book that’s been heavy on the hand to hand combat, Hitch has truly excelled.
Saving one such scuffle for the end of the book ensures it ends on a high note; with the latest link in the chain being captured and prepared for a Bat-interrogation. I simply cannot wait for #8 to show us the methods Bruce will employ to get the answers he needs. Everybody talks in the end, right?
Well worth the wait, The Batman’s Grave #7 is a highly engrossing read. It certainly advances the plot, and sets things up nicely for the remaining 5 issues to bring events to the boil. Ellis is still keeping plenty of his cards close to his chest, so it’s safe to assume that we can look forward to twists galore in the future, liberally sprinkled with lashings of violence.
This is a book that everybody needs to invest in, you’ll be glad you did.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment