Writer: Gary Whitta
Art: Darick Robertson, Diego Rodriguez, and Simon Bowland
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: July 27th, 2022
BATMAN is forced to change his plans after the first encounter with the extraterrestrials landed him, and many of the JUSTICE LEAGUE, up a creek without a paddle. Let’s dive into BATMAN: FORTRESS #3 by Gary Whitta as this puzzling dilemma exacerbates even further with SUPERMAN’S continued disappearance. What are the “Exo’s” motives and could there be secrets hidden in the Fortress of Solitude? Let’s jump in and find out.
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This week’s BATMAN: FORTRESS #3 finally showcases just why the series is titled “fortress”. Yet even though the title of the series becomes crystal clear, that’s about all readers will get before issue three wraps. Fans of BATMAN: FORTRESS will get little to no action mixed with weird conversational jokes and narrative beats that weigh down the comic and clutter it with useless dialogue.
Moreover, as interesting as the story has been to this point, BATMAN: FORTRESS #3 seemed way off the tracks. The voice of BATMAN wasn’t even close nor did it portray that hard-nosed, gritty, almost raw crime-fighting mentality of the BATMAN we’re all used to witnessing in a comic. Heck, BATMAN even curses, which is unlike him. Plus, a majority of the issue is a back and forth between BATMAN and Luthor which drags the speed and intensity of the comic down tremendously,
However, Whitta does do a great job explaining why BATMAN decides to go to Luthor for help adding depth to the story. Readers see that BATMAN is backed into a corner and needs help from anyone he can get at that point. Nevertheless, the focus on Luthor and the conversation that unfolds is wildly unnecessary. Sure, as stated above, BATMAN is definitely out of character. However, Luthor’s voice is also WAY off. Lex is shown cracking jokes about the electoral map and even taxes which doesn’t fit into his narrative at all unless you think he’s Gene Hackman.
An alien species has come to destroy the entire planet with the JUSTICE LEAGUE unable to help and SUPERMAN missing in action. And we make jokes?! And as out-of-pocket, uncharacteristic lines go, the “buying of Australia” dialogue was silly and didn’t fit the story beats at all. Whitta is attempting to add conversation and humor to a story that’s in an urgent situation requiring an expedited resolution. It’s almost as if Whitta is purposely dragging out the story making the series longer to fit the number of issues needed forcing elements into the story that are unnecessary.
Darick Robertson’s illustrations aren’t bad at all. However, they’re not Lex Luthor or BATMAN. Bruce Wayne looks nothing like Bruce Wayne nor does Lex. Luthor looks a bit goofy like a Grandpa and even Perry White comes across as appearing nothing like the character. And yes, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, if someone placed these physical portrayals of characters in any other comic that wasn’t their own (especially without dialogue), you’d never be able to tell who they were. Moreover, Robertson’s line work is incredibly dark and heavy. Sure, it fits in the issue but it provides a different tone to the comic than I think Whitta’s going for, especially with his attempt at humorous dialogue.
BATMAN: FORTRESS #3 was flat, stagnant, wordy, and lacked the power and interest that’s surrounded the series to this point. The character voices were off, the jokes didn’t fit, the conversations were a bit too lengthy, and the visual depictions of the characters didn’t match the normal mantra. Yet, there really is potential within these pages. A heist about breaking into the Fortress of Solitude sounds pretty cool. However, if that’s the heart and purpose of the series, then why spend two issues setting up powerful aliens that need to be stopped?
That seems like the bigger story than breaking into the Fortress. Ultimately, the emphasis is in the wrong spot and the characters don’t jive with their normal machinations. Hopefully, Whitta can re-authenticate BATMAN: FORTRESS somehow. Nevertheless, I think the biggest help in that area would be a new art team to start at least by having the characters appear more like what we are used to. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!