Neal Adams’ BATMAN VS. RA’S AL GHUL #1 Feels Like a Relic Of The Past

FIRST IMPRESSION

BATMAN VS. RA’S AL GHUL #1 feels like a relic plucked from the past. At points it’s dialogue is stiff, but the story and actions are so obscure that you can’t help but want to read on.
Writing
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Lettering
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Neal Adams’ BATMAN VS. RA’S AL GHUL #1 from DC Comics train-wrecks into your local comic book store this week.

Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul #1 opens with the most bat-shit insane page that will make you read on in absolute wonder, by the end you’ll ask yourself, “What the hell did I just read.” But the crazy thing? You’ll enjoy every bit of the absurdity. Check out the original press release for Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul check it out here.

Neal Adams' BATMAN VS. RA’S AL GHUL #1 Feels Like a Relic Of The Past 1
The best opening Bat-page ever! By Neal Adams

Adams is most known in the Batman world for his and Dennis O’Neil’s revitalization of the character in the ’70s and co-creation of Ra’s al Ghul. His more recent work with Superman and Batman has been hit or miss, as the reaction from readers at my local comic shop wasn’t very positive. These stories were looked down upon for just how insane, and utterly obscure Adams plot was; which is precisely the category Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul falls under.

As with any character that’s been around 80 years, Batman has evolved with the times by changing his attitude and verbiage, but Adams throws all of that evolution out the window for Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul #1. Batman’s dialogue comes off awkwardly stiff like he’s stuck in the ’70s, and he’s constantly pissed off, as he yells at people and repeatedly calls Ra’s a liar.

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Batman’s dialogue isn’t the only one that suffers from an awkward stiffness, as other characters do too, this feeling of weird 70’s writing isn’t limited to just that, as Adams has a newscast sprinkled throughout that feels like one of the most obvious exposition dumps. These newscast segments work great in some scenes, but in others, there is so much exposition that it would read better if it was on a recap page.

Neal Adams' BATMAN VS. RA’S AL GHUL #1 Feels Like a Relic Of The Past 2
Interior art by Neal Adams

At moments Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul #1 feels like a story Adams had planned for the ’70s and is now has time to get to it. If you grew up with Adam’s Batman, you’ll probably love Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul #1, but if you’re a new age Batman fan—keep away.

Adams art has been known and loved for the realism he puts into every aspect of his pencils, but as the years have gone by he has slowly lost the beauty of his original work. With his nearly 60 years of pencils in the industry, the last ten has seen Adams once-great pencil work become more of sketches. Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul #1 art see’s Adams at what may be the worst, with most of the pages seeming like he went with his first sketch, then threw colors on it.

His colors are great, making the pages feel like the story he is telling is gritty and dirty, but the sketch filled pages feel like a new artist trying his or her best to recapture Adams art, while failing. With how many dialogue bubbles there are Clem Robins lettering feels cluttered at times, while the issue is void of sound effects in some scenes and not others. Another weird instance is an editor’s note in a box with an asterisk (*) showcasing an extra bit of information, the only problem is there is no asterisk on the pages dialogue or anywhere else.

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Interior art by Neal Adams

Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul vs. 2019 (Conclusion)

Even though Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul #1 has stiff dialogue, unnecessarily in your face exposition, and a story that feels so weirdly obscure; you will find it hard to peel your eyes off the page. When everything comes together, the issue forms a fun train wreck, that you can at least say it was fun to watch (in this case, read).

 

Memorable Quote: “What …The living hell is this?!” – Boston Brand (Deadman)

I agree, what the living hell did I just read?

 

Side Note: I think Adams loves Deadman and that is perfect. Deadman is a cool and fun character that hasn’t been used much lately.

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Jason Jeffords Jr
Jason Jeffords Jr
Jason resides in the cold crime-ridden town of Anchorage, Alaska. When he isn't running away from murderers, he "chills" at home reading comics/books, watching films/TV, and playing video games with his three-legged cat Lucky. Oh he also sometimes writes for websites such as Monkeys Fighting Robots, Comics Bulletin, and Witll.

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