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Batman and the Monster Men

July 31, 2008

This six issue mini-series was published under the banner Dark Moon Rising making it the first of two stories by Matt Wagner. Both take place during the end of Year One. Indicators for this are that Gordon is still Lieutenant and Commissioner Loeb has already been replaced. We see a bit more of Bruce Wayne’s private life than we did in Year One and it is nice to see the introduction of the Bat-mobile. In terms of character realization, Wagner did everything right. Alfred is witty and sarcastic as we love him, Wayne and his alter ego Batman fit perfectly and also Dr Hugo Strange is as demonic and “evil geniusy” as possible.

The think this story lacked for me was neither action nor suspense (it had a lot of those two actually), but it felt a bit sterile and boring. I didn’t particularly warm up to Wagner’s art and so it all felt a bit stale. In this first of the two Dark Moon Rising stories, Hugo Strange is properly introduced to the Gotham City universe. He is a scientist who is trying to enhance the human body through DNA manipulation. Being of small stature, bold and near-sighted, he hopes to find the means to perfect the human DNA strain, to get rid of such shortcomings. In the process his experiments fail and he creates abominable creatures, which he uses to get rid of his enemies. Of course Batman won’t allow such shenanigans and has several run-ins with the good doctor and his “monster men”. All in all, the story is decent and it fits into the Year One universe, a time when Batman was still fairly inexperienced and people didn’t know who or what he was.

Story                  6

Art                      6

Reread Value     4

Overall rating    6/10

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