Written by: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV
Art by: Guillem March
Cover by: Guillem March
Published by: DC Comics
It was bound to happen eventually, it was just a matter of how long it would take. The appearances made by both Batman and Nightwing were executed perfectly; long enough to satisfy the fans and short enough to not overstay their welcome. We have to remember that, at the end of the day, this is not one of the countless “Bat-books” published by DC. So long as Batman’s cameos don’t overshadow the regular cast then they are a success. Kudos to the writers for handling this one so well.
The quality of the writing in this title has been consistent so far, which is a good omen as it continues to find its feet. This is only its fifth issue (six if you count the #0 issue) while the majority of other titles out there are well into their second year. They have all established themselves in DC’s collective universe, something this title is still in the process of. In my eyes it has already proven its worth. The opening scenes of this issue depicting a perfectly normal breakfast scenario almost make us forget that this man, Calvin Rose, is a would-be expert assassin. Yet here he is, enjoying a peaceful breakfast with the important people in his life. That is, of course, until training resumes. In the blink of an eye we are reminded of his identity and what his all-important mission is. The transition is so seamless that Snyder and Tynion IV really do deserve more recognition for their work on this title.
I love the fact that the Gotham Butcher is continuing to be the antagonist in our hero’s life as he is to Calvin as Bane is to Batman, or as Darkseid is to the Justice League. He is definitely superior to Calvin physically, meaning he has to use his wit to defeat him. It’s nice to read a story where a great deal of thought has gone in to it to determine its outcome rather than merely find out who is the strongest. The Butcher himself proved to us in just one issue how evil he really is, surely setting him up for an eventual fall. I for one look forward to seeing how his individual storyline develops, hopefully even seeing some flashback sequences in future issues to witness how he became the cold-blooded killer he is today.
Guillem March delivers once again, leaving very little to be said regarding the art. It is what it is; excellent. There is no need to go into a great deal of depth regarding the quality of his work as it is consistently top-notch. It just serves to make this title even more enjoyable to read than it already is.
Another thing I appreciated in this issue was the preview of Constantine #1 after the main story. Although unrelated to this title (it was included in several titles this month) it was a lovely gesture by DC and an incentive for some readers to perhaps add another comic to their pull list. I love Constantine over in Justice League Dark so hopefully his solo title does the character justice.
After another great issue from the ace creative team this title continues to edge towards that coveted spot at the top of my list of favourite comics.