Batman: Fortress 3 review

Batman: Fortress #3 review

Batman: Fortress has been a real trip, taking DC Comics’ biggest characters and throwing them into the thresher of ideas Gary Whitta and Darick Robertson can throw at them. First, there was an alien invasion which caused cities to be in chaos. The second issue ended with some major heroes being killed off. The third issue, out today, features Batman with far fewer options. Superman is gone, but the alien threat seeks to kill him – or kill all of Earth in the process.

Batman: Fortress #3 opens with Batman attempting to hack into Cyborg’s head. Batman has run out of options due to the events in the previous issue. It’s pretty dark, and Alfred obviously sees that as he tells Bruce Wayne they’re out of coffee. Whitta describes much of Batman’s frustration in this scene. This leads to him asking for help from certain godlike characters. It’s these story ideas that make the book feel different and new. Bold for sure, but if you’re interested in more mainline Batman comics, I’m sure it’ll feel off.

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The remainder of the issue is split into two parts. The first is about the alien threat that continues to hunt Superman. This results in a significant death but also provides some additional information. Up until this point, we thought Superman may have abandoned Earth, but it sounds more like he’s planning something. This raises the possibility of a showdown in the future.

Batman is trying to get help from his greatest enemy in the last sequence. Once again, there’s a lot of talking between these characters. The old adage of “show don’t tell” is thrown out the window in this sequence and the whole issue. It is a scene that lacks surprise, which further reduces the effect of the sequence.

The dialogue is well written, though, and there’s a good back-and-forth that ends the issue. It would have made the story flow more smoothly if these characters were speaking while they did something else. It also occurred to me while reading this last scene that it’s a bit of a surprise the plot didn’t get to this point earlier in the series. The series could have ended with this cliffhanger in Issue 1.

DC Preview: Batman: Fortress #3

Batman looks strung out.
Credit: DC Comics

Robertson’s dark and heavily inked work continues to look great. Robertson’s specialty is creating aliens that are unique and fantastical. Robertson also captures Bruce Wayne looking tired and worn out. He needs to get some sleep. Diego Rodriguez colorizes the issue by using nice color variation in bat cave to make it seem larger than the pencils indicate. There’s good detailing around a Batman hologram message as well.

Simon Bowland manages to make it all flow beautifully with so many dialogues. There are at least three pages where there’s so much dialogue it could have easily been tricky to allow for good flow.

More and more Batman: FortressThe story is too stale and lacks plot movement. There’s also a lot of talking. It’s not bad by any means, but once collected it’ll likely be far more enjoyable as not a lot has happened in three issues. But heck, it’s fun to read an alternate take on Batman facing off against impossible odds.

'Batman: Fortress' #3 finds a new path as Batman runs out of options

‘Batman: Fortress’ #3 finds a new path as Batman runs out of options

Batman: Fortress #3

More and more, Batman: Fortress reads like a too decompressed story with little plot movement and too much talking. Although it isn’t bad, once you have the entire series, you’ll find it much more enjoyable. Not much has happened in just three issues. But it’s still entertaining to read an alternate Batman tale.

The concept is still working and it’s great to see Batman going toe to toe with some unusual partners

The book looks great when it is inked with heavy inks

The plot moves too slowly, with the majority of this issue focusing on characters talking about their future plans.

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