Batman the Dark Knight #23.1 (DC)


Rating: 2.5/5 – Not your regular dummy, dummy

So we arrive at September and DC’s latest marketing ploy “Villain Month”.  I went into this month with a simple idea, “How will this event disappoint me?”  After reading one book, I have realized they are not doing it on purpose.  The problem is that with the 2 year old “New 52”, DC has taken most of their universe and tried to give it the Marvel Ultimate Universe treatment.  You know the names but lots of the specifics you thought you knew have been changed.  However, in Marvel’s case, they at least had the old 616 to fall back on.

This is a Ventriloquist story, it’s just not the one we all know and some of us love.  Now the Ventriloquist was never a great character.  He would never be a Joker or Riddler level character.  But he was fun for that occasional one off story.  The pre-52 Ventriloquist was like that crazy uncle you would like to see once in a while for that off the wall remark he would make but after you left, you were happy for a while.  The old Ventriloquist was fun, puppetered by someone who was the complete opposite.  He was crude, evil, and very much an old style gangster.  This made it really enjoyable.  Like Joe Pesci, a little tough guy.

But that’s not saying the new Ventriloquist is terrible.  Gail Simone actually tells a very good story about the new evil duo.  The human aspect of this couple is evil.  A very Carrie-esque version of someone always made fun of by her peers, ignored by most adults, and overshadowed by her brother until she finally lashes out.  The actual dummy is apparently no dummy at all.  Think Chucky.  He moves and talks on his own, or so it seems.  It actually might prove to be a very interesting character.  However, when you take the title of a previous character, you have to live up to that.

Now if you have no idea who the previous Ventriloquist was and apparently never watched the 90s Batman cartoon, you will probably enjoy this.  But knowing the previous incarnation leaves a lot to be desired with this one.  A good enough story by a good writer earns this at least a 50%.

Reviewed by: Chris Stark – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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