Writers: Tini Howard and Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Mike Hawthorne, Nikola Cizmesija, Mark Morales, Wade Von Grawbadger, Arif Prianto, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: October 31st, 2023
The final chapter of this epic crossover is here, and Batman and his family must find a way to overcome the endgame of an ancient enemy as Batman/Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth #1 by Tini Howard and Chip Zdarsky! Can the Bat and the Cat set their differences aside? Is this the end of the Bat-Family? Lives change forever in this action-packed conclusion!
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Batman/Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth #1 Review.
Well, the Gotham War comes to an end and manages to do so in a totally unexpected way from where this “war” began. I have to admit that I never saw this “war” between Catwoman and the Bat-kids vs. Batman turning into a Vandal Savage/ Lazarus Pit/ meteorite melee. So, from the token of surprise, I’ll give Howard and Zdarsky credit. Additionally, as the end began to unfold coupled with the cover page stating “the shocking conclusion”, this reviewer knew something big was supposed to happen before Batman/ Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth #1 came to an end. And leave it to Howard and Zdarsky to throw another curveball right at the end to sidestep one character’s death with another. Keep in one, we know people don’t stay dead long in comics. So realistically, the individual who dies will probably be back rather soon. Nevertheless, the narrative swerve was nice to keep me on my toes.
However, my biggest problem with Batman/ Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth #1 was that the characters didn’t feel like any of the Bat Family. Batman’s voice was way off, Jason and Dick didn’t even present themselves like the characters, the Rogue Villains were trivial and weird, Vandal Savage was almost insignificant at the end, and all for what exactly? So, we can distance ourselves from Batman and his Bat-Family? To set up King’s Penguin Story?
In the end, the character voices remained disjointed and all that seemed to be gained from this adventure was a separation from Batman, his kids, and a certain death that won’t last. Nevertheless, I think it was the speed and all-out frenzy of Batman/ Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth #1 that added even more to the ambiguous nature of the characters. The story cooked from start to finish making every conversation seem like cliff notes taking any emotion out of the story at the key moments where readers would feel for the sacrificial moments and shocking twist at the end. It’s the speed that lightened the blow and detained the emotion of a story that left Batman/ Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth #1 almost lifeless.
Readers, I do appreciate Hawthorne’s art style. However, when the characters had no masks on, you could barely differentiate who they were. There were zero characters about their physical appearance that made them appear like the character outside of their costume. That’s a huge knock for me. Additionally, the inks were exceptionally dark, the shading was darker, and many of the villain’s faces were elongated. It was almost as if each character illustration came across as stationary and uninvolved like a wax figure. There were many instances throughout that took this reader out of the story.
Batman/ Catwoman: The Gotham War – Scorched Earth #1 brings this storyline/ event to a close quite uneventfully. The character voices were off, the illustrations didn’t match, the story lacked emotion, and the impact of the “shocking conclusion” lost its punch with the exceedingly fast-paced panel progressions and conversations from the characters. Sure, there were certainly a few strong curveballs in this issue. However, they weren’t enough to save the event making Batman/ Catwoman: The Gotham War potentially a forgettable storyline a few months from now. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!