Comic Review: Batman – Night of the Monster Men
Batman: Night of the Monster Men is the first post-Rebirth Bat-Line crossover, with all three of the main Bat-Books (Nightwing, Detective Comics, and Batman) crossing over to deal with the larger threat of a series of, for lack of a better term, Kaiju attacking Gotham City at the same time that a major hurricane hits the city, with the Bat-Family having to contain the monsters while investigating their source.
If your first thought is “Boy, Kaiju seem like a Superman enemy,” then you’re kind of running into the story’s first problem. Second, the story stumbles when it comes to the antagonist behind the monsters – Hugo Strange. Strange’s strength as a Batman villain is that he is a mad psychologist. He is able to manipulate people into carrying out his ends without engaging in direct confrontation – and he’s intelligent and perceptive enough that he’s one of the few Batman villains who are able to figure out Batman’s identity on their own – and who are also dangerous enough to keep that information under their hat.
Consequently, literally creating giant monsters, even if they are ones inspired by what Strange perceives to be weaknesses in Batman’s personality, is stepping out of Strange’s field somewhat, both in terms of his tactics and also in terms of his literal field of specialty as a scientist. Yes, he worked with other people to create the serum that created these monsters, but ultimately the formula is one of his own design – which is what makes me scratch my head. Normally, the DC Universe is a little better when it comes to scientists staying in their lane – you don’t have Mad Surgeons building robotic bodyguards or Mad Engineers delving into body-horror monstrosities. I mean, Doctor Sivana is right there – and there’s tremendous narrative potential for the various Evil Mad Scientists of the DC Universe collaborating to create some truly terrifying insults to God, Nature, and Ethics.
Further, I’d been hoping to see the Doctor Strange plot thread pursued further in the main Batman comic, and this book wraps up with Strange in custody, though presumably in a position to set up the next steps in that book. That said, this event does a good job of setting up some of the fracture points in the Bat Family which will be brought to a head in the next volume of Detective Comics.
Otherwise, this is kind of a fun event book and is worth checking out in that regard. It is available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle/Comixology editions from Amazon. Buying anything through those links helps to support the site.
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