Hong Kong (Hardcover)

Author: Doug Moench
Artist: Tony Wong
Titan Books
RRP: £19.99
ISBN 1 84023 648 5
Available now

A computer hacker stumbles onto a private web broadcast of a snuff film. Haunted by the images he witnesses he seeks help from Gotham's police department, but is turned away when he is unable to prove that the broadcast wasn't a hoax, only to become the next victim. Batman is soon hot on the trail and discovers that similar murders have taken place in Hong Kong. Batman travels to Hong Kong to investigate, but soon realises that he is out of his depth. In a land with different laws, customs and rules of combat - can even Batman bring this murderer to justice?...

Hong Kong sees Batman leaving behind the familiar surroundings of Gotham City to stalk his prey in Hong Kong as he is haunted by the fact that he was unable to stop a murder on his own turf. Here he is up against the Triad, while the local police force and Hong Kong's own vigilante, Night-Dragon, allow Batman to conduct his own investigation. However, it is not long before Batman discovers that all three are strangely connected. But are all three behind the strange deaths?

The plot unfolds smoothly and the ending does have an interesting twist, which is impossible to work out as you're reading this collection. The writer also takes a pro-Triad stance here. Are they all bad? This is a little like the bizarre romantic image that people have of the Krays (They only killed their own and they were gents) and the Great Train Robbers. This is something I've never understood - the glorification of criminals. If you are stupid, or twisted enough to commit a major crime you should be seen for what you are - a sad non-achiever - not a hero.

This collection is illustrated by Manga artist Tony Wong, which adds a nice take on the story - even if in places, Batman looks like the evil Zoltar from Battle of the Planets.

Batman fans will love this collection, as will anyone who likes good, solid storytelling.

Nick Smithson

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