War Games - Act One

Authors: Various
Artists: Various
Titan Books
RRP 10.99
ISBN 1 84576 044 1
Available 22 April 2005

Gotham City's underworld families respond to a mysterious summons for a summit. Fear, suspicion and paranoia get the better of them and bullets fly fast and furious. As familiar warlords fall, a new wave of chaos engulfs the city. Batman must use every available asset - Oracle, Batgirl, Nightwing, Orpheus, Onyx and Tarantula - to preserve live and contain the trouble, while determining who is the mastermind behind the conflagration...

Outbreak is one hell of an action packed graphic novel. Gotham City is a war zone - all hell has broken lose after some of the heads of Gotham's crime gangs were brutally slain in one sweep. Now the gangs are fighting one another in an attempt to gain the most turf. Batman has his work cut out for him now as he tries to keep everything together - but he can't do it alone.

This collection keeps up the suspense around who is responsible for starting the war in the first place. There are plenty of suspects - even the those trapped in Arkham Asylum could have outside help - but it will take the combined forces of Batman, Batgirl, Oracle, Orpheus, Onyx, Spoiler, Tarantula and Nightwing to return everything back to normal - which in Gotham is pretty grim anyway.

Outbreak starts a short time after the fourth Robin has been given the push by Batman. Stephanie now prowls Gotham as Spoiler - an apt name as she seems to spoil every advantage given to her. But what is her secret? One so dark that she fears anyone knowing?

The script is spot on and the art work is well above average. It's just a shame the presentation wasn't a bit better thought out. It's not bad, but for a collection like this I'd have expected more.

Nick Smithson

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