Black and White - Volume 1

Authors: Brian Bolland, Neil Gaiman, Chuck Dixon, Archie Goodwin, Matt Wagner and others
Artists: Simon Bisley, Brian Bolland, Matt Wagner and others
Titan Books
RRP: 14.99, US $19.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 682 5
ISBN-10: 1 84576 682 2
Available 23 November 2007

For Batman, the Dark Knight protector of Gotham City, the world is simple: there's good and evil, black and white. Now, using stark black and white linework and a film noir flavour, a host of the biggest names in the industry have contributed to a collection of twenty all-new short stories that represent a high watermark in comics storytelling...

Batman: Black and White features the stories and art of some of the biggest names in the industry including Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), Brian Bolland (Judge Dredd), Simon Bisley (Lobo), Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series), Kent Williams (The Fountain), and many more, all of whom put their own particular twist on the Batman universe.

Out of this collection, tales that I found particularly entertaining included The Devil's Trumpet (Archie Goodwin/Jose Munoz) which sees an old folk tale being revisited and given the Batman treatment; A Black and White World (Neil Gaiman/Simon Bisley) in which Batman and the Joker come face to face again, however this time the two are merely actors following their scripts. Sat in their dressing rooms, we soon discover that both are consummate professionals; Bent Twigs (Bill Sienkiewicz) in which Batman is asked to help a man sort his apparently wayward son out. But it soon becomes apparent that it's not the son who is a monster; An Innocent Guy (Brian Bolland) in which a man realises that to be truly good you must have tried being evil too in order prove that you have voluntarily chosen the path of righteousness. But what heinous crime can he commit?

While the above selection represented my personal favourites, the truth is that there is something here for everyone. If you are looking for a collection of Batman related short tales that you can dip in and out of then look no further.

Nick Smithson

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