The Fantastic Four team up with Iron Man to take on some giant monsters overseas in FF/IM: Big in Japan, now collected in trade paperback form. The Batman: Gotham County Line collection takes the three issue prestige-format mini-series and presents them together as Batman finds himself matching wits with a wily serial killer and dealing with the vagaries of local law enforcement.
In the early days of their globe-trotting and dimension-hopping career, the Fantastic Four fought more than one gigantic monster bent on destroying a major city, and this four-issue limited opens with them being honored, appropriately enough, at the opening of the Tokyo Giant Monster Museum and Expo Center in Japan, where they discover they are tremendously popular with the populace—almost as popular as Tony Stark, who shows up for no apparent reason. Of course, when giant monsters attack the city, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and the Thing are on-hand to bring them down.
This is one huge, eye-popping slugfest from start to finish, and Seth Fisher’s extremely detailed and energetic line-work gives Zeb Wells’ story the kinetic flourish it needs to work as both a super-hero story and an analysis of popular culture not to be missed.
This three-issue Prestige Format limited series by writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and artist Scott Hampton (Batman: Night Cries) removes Batman from his normal milieu; rather than tracking his usual array of garish foes through the concrete jungle of Gotham City, the Dark Knight finds himself in the suburbs of Gotham County, investigating a string of serial murders as a favor to his old friend, Commissioner Gordon. As the story develops, it becomes something of a police procedural—à la CSI—and Batman finds himself matching wits with a wily serial killer and dealing with the vagaries of local law enforcement.
The story takes an odd turn—albeit not an unexpected one, given Niles’ involvement—when supernatural elements begin to creep into the plot near the end of the first issue. They do not hamper Gotham County Line in any way; it’s just that Niles does such a good job of grounding Batman in investigative aspects of the story that the shift toward the paranormal is, at first, a bit jarring.
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