Black & White - Volume Three (Hardback)

Authors: Mike W. Barr, Ed Brubaker, Geoff Johns, Mike Mignola and others
Artists: Philip Bond, Alan Davis, Sean Phillps and others
Titan Books
RRP: 19.99, US $24.99, Cdn $29.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 554 5
ISBN-10: 1 84576 554 0
Available 24 August 2007

Batman, the Dark Knight protector of Gotham City, tends to see the struggle between good and evil as black and white. In this collection of all-new stories, he's got the artwork to back that view up. A host of the comics industry's top writers and artists - many of whom are making their debuts illustrating the Caped Crusader - present all-new black-and-white, noir-tinged tales of Gotham's greatest hero. Featuring John Bolton, Mike Mignola, Brian Azzarello, Darwyn Cooke, Chris Bachalo, Alan Davis and many more, this book is a must for fans of Batman... and of great comics...

The third and final volume to the Eisner Award-winning Batman: Black and White series collects together 33 adventures of the Dark Knight by some of the hottest names in the industry.

Highlights for me included Fat City (writers Mick McMahon, Dave Gibbons, and artist Mick McMahon give us a tale that wouldn't look out of place in a Judge Dredd strip as an alien life form goes on the prowl in Gotham, sucking out people's fat); Sunrise (writer Alex Garland and artist Sean Phillips explore the world of a pensioner who finds an injured Batman on the roof of her building); I'll Be Watching (writer Ed Brubaker and artist Ryan Sook examine the life of a reformed criminal who is convinced the Batman is still watching his every move); and Snap (in which writer John Ostrander and artist Philip Bond follow a photo journalist determined to snap the first pictures of the Batman).

As a collection of short, sweet tales, this is more hit than miss. Although there are a few stories that just didn't work for me. I figured out the twist to The Lesson almost immediately and a lot of the riddles in Riddle Me This are pretty lame. But then that's the problem with short strips - the writer has to get his take on the character across very quickly and whether or not the reader appreciates it (especially when there are so many tales trying to do the same job in this collection) is very much down to personal taste.

If you are a serious Batman fan, then you'll need to add this to your collection. Casual readers should have a serious flick through before they decide to part with their cash.

Nick Smithson

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