Batman Chronicles
Volume Two

Authors: Various
Artists: Bob Kane
Titan Books
RRP: 9.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6292 6
ISBN-10: 1 84576 292 4
Available 20 October 2006

For over 50 years he has been a part of the American culture. He was a sensation from the moment of his first appearance, and today he has achieved an even more phenomenal level of popularity. Now the Batman's tales are being reprinted in exact chronological order from this appearance in the pages of
Detective Comics Nos. 27-38 and Batman No.1...

Volume Two of Batman Chronicles continues to reprint the original tales of the Batman in chronological order. As I mentioned in my review of Volume One, this series won't be everyone's cup of tea. To start off with Bob Kane is not the world's greatest illustrator and the writing for these early tales has not aged all that well - remember comic book characters were for kids back then.

But what this series does do is show the origins of one of today's best loved superheroes. It's interesting to see that in the early days Batman had no problems with killing the bad guys. And, surprisingly, he also has a (rather poor) sense of humour.

There are a few stories worthy of note:

Wolf, The Crime Master is a rather sad tale. Based on the old classic Jekyll and Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, this tale sees a rather timid fellow become a ruthless criminal - simply because he bangs his head. The conclusion is rather bleak too - which reflects the real world instead of offering some happy. clappy Disney view.

If you examine The Case of the Missing Link more closely, you'll soon see that this is in reality a reworking of King Kong - despite the fact that the writer is clearly trying to hide the fact.

Beware of Clayface introduces Clayface into the world of the Batman. It's not a particularly exciting tale, and because of this it's a wonder that he ever went on to become a fairly influential villain in the series.

The Crime School For Boys!!! sees Robin going undercover to infiltrate a local crime school. Here he tries to get the boys to turn over a new leaf by working out at the local gym and playing sports - so that they get a taste of what fair play is all about.

Anyone who is a solid Batman fan really needs to be collecting this series. However, casual Batman readers may find the art and story lines a bit childish (but then they were aimed at children). Personally I loved this collection and can't wait to read Volume Three.

Nick Smithson

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