By Matteo Casali, Brian Azzarello and Giuseppe Camuncoli
We’re on to the second issue of Batman: Europa this week and the first issue had an interesting enough premise; Jim Lee on art never hurts anything. As we move onto the next chapter, Lee does not assist with the art and we move onto another country. With a ton of Batman books out there, this one needs to do something to differentiate itself from the other titles.
This issue is written by Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello. One of the things these two writers get very right this issue is the relationship between Batman and the Joker. Their interaction is what will make the book for any reader. Batman hates the fact that he has to depend on the clown prince, and the Joker loves it. Most of the issue is spent with these two reluctant allies fighting robots, which is alright. We also have a man responsible for the robots being controlled talking to a mysterious figure. Casali and Azzarello don’t reveal who it is yet, and this makes things a little more fun as our minds run wild with possibilities. As the issue ends, we get some funny bits from Joker as he attempts to quote famous movie lines and Batman refuses to let this happen. If Casali and Azzarello are smart, and they are, they will continue to play this up as much as they can.
The art this issue is handled by Giuseppe Camuncoli. Losing Jim Lee is a big hit to this book, but Camuncoli does a decent job here, it’s just a different style then Lee’s crisp lines. Camuncoli has a more rugged and gritty style, almost similar to the Dark Knight books. With Camuncoli at the helm solo, there are some panels where people’s faces look off. This is most notable with the man controlling the robots, who seems to look almost like a ventriloquist dummy. The colors used here are a drastic change from last issue and there are tons of reds in this book. The coloring almost looks like a grade school kid took a crayon to a Batman coloring book. It’s not terrible, but just an odd fit for a Batman issue. Like the pencils though, the art is gritty as well.
Batman Europa #2 is a decent read, but it is not without it’s flaws. The writing by Azzarello and Casali is fun and the chemistry between Batman and Joker is great. The pencils and colors are where there could be some consistency and improvements. It’s not bad by any means, just different. $4.99 is a high price for a book that is just alright.