REVIEW SUMMARY: A super hero book that looks at relationships between the hero and their sidekick.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A boy of a foreign dignitary is almost killed while in Gotham City, and Batman recieves unexpected aid from Green Arrow. Green Arrow decides to pull in thier former sidekicks into the investigation.
PROS: A great discussion about the sidekicks of Batman (Nightwing), Green Arrow (Arsenal) and Aquaman (Tempest).
CONS: Not very much superhero type action.
BOTTOM LINE: The story is more a discussion of parental techniques than about heroic action.
After reading the previous DC Universe book, I pretty much believed that this book would flow in a similar vein, but would discuss the activities of Batman and the other terrestrial based heros. It does not and that is not such a bad thing. The story is more about relationships between fathers and sons than it is about superheroes, and since I have son this seemed a bit more interesting as I read on. Knowing this now, I probably would have moved a bit faster through the novel, but at that time I was just wondering what Ms. Grayson was trying to accomplish. Combine this with a rather large introduction defending her selection of a middle eastern country for part of the story left me debating my decision to actually read this book. I decided to accept the warning as a mechanism to help some readers move beyond some of the events that take place before the story, and find where this whole thing was going.
But where was it going? It was a discussion of parental techniques combined with some excellent backstory on the sidekicks of Batman, Green Arrow and Aquaman. Although the focus is more on the relationship between Arsenal and Green Hornet and how Arsenal’s upbringing compared to that of Nightwing. This is all overlaid the backdrop of a son of a foreign dignitary who is targeted for assassination, and who is also suffering strained relations with his father. Strange as it sounds, the story really would work well on TV similar to what Smallville is doing on the WB, and while I don’t normally go into these style shows – the book worked for me. I found myself being drawn into the comparisons and contrasts between each of the hero’s mentoring techniques and how the sidekicks turned out. Batman being the most authoritarian and Green Arrow being the most laid back, and then mix in the sense of duty the foreign dignitary has and you have some interesting parent child dynamics.
This leads me to some of the issues I had and mostly the fact that this book did not have very much superheroic action in it. The fight/action sequences (while well written) are few and far between. The narrative is well done but I would have liked a bit more to that aspect of things. Secondly, the introduction of Tempest (Aqualad) and his story comes in very late in the story, and could have been eliminated completely beyond yet another parental interaction (that of the adopted son) to compare against.
Overall if you like shows like Smallville, this book is well worth the time to read, but on the other hand if you are expecting Justice League type action but focusing on other heroes, this is not the place to look.