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It’s been a while since we’ve had occasion to balk with mild sincerity at the notion of missing a particular comic. In light of that fact, I thought I would bring back the thrilling lows and dizzying highs of that fan-tolerated feature “You Missed That Issue?” This is indeed the feature in which we take a moment to look at one of those great comics that just happened to slip through the cracks. So it is that I ask you, dear reader, to travel back with me, to the distant time of April 2012, to look at the sheer unbridled insanity of Batman: Odyssey 2 #7.
Batman: Odyssey is a two volume miniseries that began with the first volume in 2010 and resumed with the second volume in 2011. I just so happened to review the first issue of the second series way back when, but missed the books in between. Issue #7 just so happens to be the last book in the series. Keep in mind, this is not strictly speaking a review. There will be spoilers below for this book and the previous books, so, if you care for some reason at this point, then at least you have been warned.
Now, if you did not read my previous review, then here is the bullet point: Batman: Odyssey is the most insane Batman comic book you will ever read and it is absolutely horrible in the best possible way. The series is the product of a comic legend named Neal Adams. As the story goes, Adams was a wonderful comic book artist, but his skills in art simply did not translate to his skills in writing. That is until one fateful day when Adams was given license to write and draw his own Batman comic. On that day, it is said that the man known as Adams unleashed something brilliant and terrifying upon this earth; something the likes of which he could not know, something all instinctually fear when they stare into that crease between the comic’s page, that fold that splits the binding of caution and insanity, and searches for the same binding with one’s self. Basically, Batman does everything that Batman would never do.
Honestly, I could have picked any of the Batman: Odyssey books for this look and the content of the article would not be a great deal different. It’s probably best to consider this a look at the entire series, but I am going to focus on the last book, for reasons that I am keeping intentionally vague to build interest.
As I said, this series is marked by the calm and stalwart hero Bruce Wayne constantly screaming at everyone and punching people in the face while detecting jack. Every single issue, save for this final one, has begun with Bruce Wayne smiling as broadly as possible and staring the reader directly in the face as he fills an entire page with monologue over coffee. This is a Bruce Wayne that has an opinion on literally every single topic that happens to come up. Whether Batman sees a gun, a whale, or wizard, and he’s all damn three before this series is done, he has something to say about it.
Of course, Batman is not the only star in this insanity. The absolutely over the top ridiculous plot does its share, as well. This is the age old tale of Ra’s al Ghul’s mysterious assassin son, the Sensei, being a jerk, so Batman has to travel to the center of the Earth and fight evil assassin armies with a neanderthal version of himself, dinosaurs, a race of people who evolved from dinosaurs, giant bats, and Deadman. You know, that old chestnut.
Here, at the zero hour, it is time for Batman to have his final confrontation with the Sensei. He spends the first two pages running through sewers and describing how he was running through sewers. “I’m sorry . . . for the lameness of the words,” is an actual line of dialogue. Then, all of a sudden, he is at the Sensei. Kind of an abrupt final boss. And, of course, the guy is floating above the ground. For ambiance, you see.
After that, everyone stands around posturing for a while. For absolutely no good reason I can fathom, all of Batman’s villains are trapped in a series of stacked transparent prisons, “Hollywood Squares” style. How guys like Bane and Killer Croc are actually stuck in here I have no idea. In fairness though, there is really no point to any of this. Also, their positions happen to move around depending on the panel. Inconsistent art or magic glass teleport prisons? It’s all good in Batman: Odyssey!
Our main feature here though is Batman and the Sensei’s fight scene. It is pretty standard over the top seventies kung fu action fare. All the villains are predictably enthused and all the everyone else is predictably expositiony. Robin calls Ra’s a “bag of cow chips.” But that is not why we are here.
We are here because in the culmination of the fight, Batman takes a gun from his cape and awkwardly shoots the Sensei point blank in the back while screaming his head off. It is one of the single greatest pages of any comic book ever. The following page that features every one of Batman’s villains, people who are mass murderers and torturers themselves, absolutely crapping their pants at this grisly scene. He then spends the next page screaming at the villains, telling them to run, and how he will hunt them down and murder them all. Even though there are trapped in these boxes. And remain there.
In the end it turns out, obviously, that the whole murder thing was staged, but it is still one of the most insane things you will ever see Batman do that does not involve riding dinosaurs. Finally, back in the present, Superman, who was previously revealed as the chronicler Bruce was glowering over at the beginning of each book pretends he just heard the greatest story never to be told. The total crazy banana pants of this series ends with two pages of Bruce and Robin getting way too excited about Superman’s flying sound effect; the way all great tales should end.
All in all, Batman: Odyssey 2 #7 is not a very good comic book and it is definitely a very bad Batman comic book. The story makes no sense, the characters are needlessly chatty, and even the art has its hiccups. That said, if you can appreciate the entertainment value of so-bad-its-funny kinds of material, then you simply cannot miss Batman: Odyssey. This is really a book that benefits from a non-standard review. Putting this character that so many of us not only know, but have a very strong opinion on in terms of who he is as a character, in these absolutely bizarre and outlandish situations is just so much fun. If you missed this Batman: Odyssey before, then don’t let yourself miss it any longer.