Thanks to DC Entertainment and NetGalley for an exclusive advance reader’s edition of this title for the purposes of review.
When the initial concept of Tom King’s latest rendition on the Caped Crusader was introduced, it left many perplexed, especially when regarding the introduction and usage of the character of Catwoman. While I will not delve into the plot point itself within this review, the overall curiosity of the element is what excites fans for King’s graphic novel release of Bride or Burglar. However, while the art of the book is truly stunning, the actual material or storytelling leaves much to be desired. It teases fans on what the interesting element could provide for both characters, Batman and Catwoman, but it never holds true to the promise that its title suggests. As a whole, Batman Vol.6: Bride or Burglar is a beautifully stunning recreation of the modern Batman mythos but lacks any real substance to warrant a read, to say nothing of a purchase.
Easily the best aspect of the book, the art direction and style is truly amazing. It has a similar tone and color grading to that of Scott Snyder’s works and has a more mystified approach that keeps it in line with previous modern iterations of the character. However, there were multiple instances where I noticed a slight brightness to the scenery, especially in Batman’s suit. It was an enjoyable flair to the art that brought up similarities to that of Tim Burton’s original films.
As it always is with DC Comics, the character models are all universally excellent. They may never reach the artistically realistic designs of the Injustice series and they don’t have the artistic boldness as Batman Ninja, but what is on display is great and a highly enjoyable addition to an art style that ranks amongst the best in recent memory for the company.
While the art style and direction is breathtaking in both its design and execution, the actual storytelling nearly falls flat on its face. The story almost feels like an extremely rushed affair. Events occur at a ludicrously fast pace, creating an experience that may look stunning but is ultimately still dull and uninteresting. It never attains the heights of previous entries in the series, to say nothing of what King is capable of as a writer. In fact, the story becomes so ludicrous at times that it even rivals Batman Ninja. However, unlike Batman Ninja, this sixth volume takes each event with a heavy dose of gravity and soberness. While this may keep it in line with other DC comics, it ultimately makes the story feel as if it was ashamed of itself. Nothing in this story lives up to what both fans and the creators promised. In fact, certain fan theories floating on the Internet prior are actually more substantial that what is actually provided. It is a shocking disappointment that destroys a long line of trust that DC Comics has built up in my heart over the years.
As a whole, Batman Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar is a mixed conception. On one hand, it is a beautiful work of art that stands toe-to-toe with other DC comics and feels both inspired and nostalgic. However, it has some critical flaws in the design of the story. Events occur at a ludicrous speed and the book never lives up to what the synopsis or even title promised for the titular characters. If you are a fan of this series so far, the intrigue of another addition will compel most to pick up this graphic novel. However, it should be noted that what fans get, never reaches the full potential of what it could be.
Score: 5.2 out of 10