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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

False Faces (Hardback)


Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artists: Scott McDaniel, Rick Burchett, Scott Kolins and Marcos Martin
Titan Books
RRP: £14.99, US $19.99, Cdn $23.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 720 4
ISBN-10: 1 84576 720 9
Available 25 April 2008

The Dark Knight has always managed to balance his double life as Batman and billionaire Bruce Wayne. But what happens when leading a double life becomes too much for him to handle? Up against his old enemies the Ventriloquist and the Mad Hatter, the guardian of Gotham City must keep it together in the face of their criminal endeavours... although his greatest adversary might be his own secret lives...

False Faces is a collection of Batman stories written by Y: The Last Man author Brian K. Vaughan.

In the first of these tales, Bruce Wayne adopts the guise of Matches Malone - the seedy identity he uses to infiltrate the Gotham underworld. But when the real Matches is shot, it's up to Batman to determine what really happened? And how Scarface is involved? More interestingly though... how can, what Batman's allies thought was a, fake persona get shot? As Nightwing digs deeper into the mystery he doesn't like what he discovers. Could it be that he is about to lose his old friend to the forces of evil - that Batman is hiding a deadly secret that violates his own code of ethics?

This is followed by two further tales. The first sees Batman take on the Mad Hatter, and the second follows Wonder Woman and Donna Troy as they tackle Clayface.

Moan number one: What on earth is a Wonder Woman story doing in a Batman collection? Oh, it's set in Gotham... er... that's alright then is it? This was originally published in issues #160 to 161 of Wonder Woman, so not really sure why it's included here.

Moan number two: While it's the best story in this collection, large chunks of the Matches Malone and Scarface story make no sense. As Nightwing chases after Batman, who has rushed off in the Batmobile, he talks to Barbara (Oracle) and tells her that: "Things started to go sour the night after we tangled with Scarface, right after you called..."

This makes no sense, as the reason Nightwing is chasing Batman is because this is the night after they tangled with Scarface... and Barbara has just called..." So Nightwing effectively is saying that things have just gone sour!

Now, it could be that the next few pages are all flashbacks and that Barbara has rung previously, but this is not clear, as Nightwing appears to have caught up with Batman and is sitting in the Batmobile.

Even if you ignore these pretty annoying sticking points, you still have a pretty mediocre collection of tales - one good, one very average and one out of place.


Nick Smithson

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