Death and the City

Authors: Paul Dini, Stuart Moore and Royal McGraw
Artists: Don Kramer, Wayne Faucher and Andy Clarke
Titan Books
RRP: 9.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 673 3
ISBN-10: 1 84576 673 3
Available 21 December 2007

In his ongoing crusade against the freakish criminals who plague Gotham, the batman encounters dangerous new enemies and some very unlikely allies. Villains such as the Ventriloquist and the Terrible Trio terrorise the city, pushing Batman to the limit, but a crisis arises when Robin is kidnapped by the mad bomber called Vox. With the situation growing even more desperate, the Dark Knight turns to two former enemies for help - but is it too little, too late? With twists, turns and double-crosses, Batman must use all his skills and cunning to stay ahead of his enemies. Can Batman keep his alliances in line and solve the mystery in time to save Gotham?...

Death and the City collects together a number of tales that see the Dark Knight up against various familiar faces - including Scarface and Harley Quinn - as well as a number of mysterious criminals who have carefully concealed their identity. Batman also gets to work with The Riddler and Zatanna.

Originally published in Detective Comics issues #827-834, this collection kicks off with Double Talk. This sees the return of the Ventriloquist and Scarface - a fact made all the more bizarre because the Ventriloquist is dead and buried and Scarface has been smashed to pieces. Everything is not what it seems, and Batman looks set to have his work cut out for him as he attempts to work out what on earth is really going on.

Other tales include Shark Bite, in which the Batman and the Riddler must join forces to work out who has killed an old friend of Bruce Wayne, and tried to make it look like an accident; Siege, a two-part story which sees Wayne Tower under siege from a mysterious terrorist bent on sending a message to the western world; Kind of Like Family, which sees Harley Quinn sprung out of Arkham Asylum against her will - her rescuer wanting something in return. However, Quinn isn't interested in going back to a life of crime, but how can she assure the authorities that the asylum break wasn't her idea?; Triage, which sees the Terrible Trio (Shark, Volper and Fisk) becoming targets of a mysterious murderer - can Batman stop the crimes and bring the criminal to justice?; and Trust, in which Batman joins forces with Zatanna in a bid to bring a murdering magician to justice.

All of the tales bring something different to the table - and as a whole there's something here to appease every Batman fan. Personally, my favourite tale was the two-parter Trust. This is partly down to the interesting twist as to who the killer is, but also down to the way the story is slowly unwound. This was closely followed by Siege - a sort of Twin Towers terrorist story with a refreshingly different message than I was expecting to emerge out of an American comic.

Whatever floats your boat, you'll find something of interest here.

Pete Boomer

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