Comics Matchmaker: Batman – War Games

I know, I know, more Batman you may ask? The thing is, my comic seekers, Batman is just the perfect bachelor. With so many stories to chose from there’s just always something for everyone!

And today’s book is definitely for those who find themselves looking at the world of comics and thinking “you know what this place needs? More gritty realism.” While, normally I couldn’t disagree with you more, I happen to love this book for specifically that purpose. Today’s story isn’t about heroes fighting intergalactic beings or strange visitors from another planet. It’s about the villains more likely to lurk on our street corners.

This week’s bachelor is about gang wars.

Right? How's that for gritty realism.

Right? How’s that for gritty realism.

This is, in fact, NOT a Batman book Topher and I have discussed on our podcast Wine and Comics (if you want to hear a little of the backstory, read my recent post about it) so this might be new to some of you folks. Yes, I love the Bat family and this book is no different. But unlike other Batman stories I’ve mentioned previously (ones mostly for those who look to add a little heart to their comic collection) this book has all the action and, even more important, all of the bad choices.

But how do you know if this book is right for you? Here are a few of match.com’s delightful dating questions to get to know the book a little better…

Other than appearance, what is the first thing that people notice about you?

One of the things I love best in this and any other comic book is a theme revolving around consequences. And these consequences follow one of the unluckiest women in comic book history, Stephanie Brown.

Bad decision number one, DAT HAIR DOE

Bad decision number one, DAT HAIR DOE

If you’ve read my previous Batman reviews or listened to the podcast mentioned above, it’s no secret that I really love Stephanie Brown. I love that she’s all heart and mostly thumbs, the red-headed step-child of the Bat family. She’s never quite accepted into the gang but she’s not one to let it get her down. One of the more determined of the Bat Babies, Stephanie fights not because she needs to believe in Gotham, Stephanie fights because she needs to believe in herself.

That’s a lot about Stephanie, why is it important to know as one of the main things people notice about this book?

Because it’s important for you to understand all that as you watch her make one of the biggest mistakes of her life.

What are your three BEST qualities?

  1. Similarly to Bruce Wayne Murderer, Batman: War Games is an arc that spans over the course of numerous comics, therefore the art and the writing style varies throughout the graphic novel. Some may find this jarring but I would argue that it’s one of the book’s major strengths. When a gang war starts to create a power struggle that nearly implodes Gotham, it’s important to see the action from different view points and perspectives. We see the action happen then experience it on different levels because there isn’t a right or wrong in this scenario. There are numerous places you could pin the blame and many of them would be correct. The different perspectives prove that not everything is black and white, even in the comic book world (especially in the comic book world.)
  2. The Bat Family. Because you knew I was going to say it and it’s never a wrong answer. If you like Bat Family stories, do yourself a favor and pick this up immediately, do not pass go, do not collect  $200, DO NOT PLAY MONOPOLY AT ALL.
  3. Some amazingly powerful women in this comic. From Oracle to Catwoman to Cassandra to Stephanie. Yes, Stephanie messes up big time. But I think it’s interesting to see how it’s handled, especially by others. I like seeing characters that mess up and need redemption. There’s just so many strong, powerful women in this book and when I first read it as a young lass, it was very encouraging and inspiring.

What’s the most important thing you’re looking for in another person?

Batman: War Games is intense, there’s no way around it. It’s not a fun, happy 1960s play, though it’s also no Dark Knight (because nothing is that boring.) It’s for the reader that appreciates strong stakes and solid action. Crazy powers or alien invasions not your thing? This is the book for you. Liked Netflix’s Daredevil more than Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD? Then this is your type of bachelor.

The 4 things your friends say you are…

Amazon: “War Games contains some great art. In addition, this is another great way to implement the full Batman gallery of rogues, an undertaking that is admirable. Batman’s list of strange and unique enemies is indeed a long one, and War Games makes a good run at pitting them against one another. War Games is a solid Batman graphic novel series.” Corum Seth Smith

Twitter: “An underrated one for me is the War Games run with Batman. So intense. A lot of fun to read.” – Comics Over Coffee

Goodreads: “War has broken out and boy, is it ever-exciting. The body count is high and likely to mount even higher. Can’t wait to read the remaining two volumes. This is Batman at his finest. ” – Virginia

Twitter: “This is the first chapter to one of the Best and more complex sagas in Batman cannon. It is an amazing book with good art and a dark overwhelming storyline. This book offers a great way to see how the Bat-Family worked, and how the relationship on its core can be so dysfunctional. Every character is developed into new heights; even Gotham City seems to show a darker side never seen before. By the way it offers the best portrait that I have seen of Spoiler, after this story I have been collecting everything I could find about this character. So if you are looking for a great dark story with shocking surprises every few pages, then this is your kind of book.” – Angel

What are 5 things you “can’t live without?”

  • Have I mentioned strong female characters? Because that’s winning in every language. 
  • The Ventriloquist, who is one of my favorite villains and we frankly don’t see enough of him.
  • Despite there being a whole gang war, the team pulls out all the stops to save young Mr. Tim Drake who is currently taking a break from Robin-ing thanks to some blood family drama because Bat family-ing comes first no matter where your cowl is.
  • Have I mentioned the Bat family? Because they are still stupendous. 
  • The reveals in this book are on point. I remember reading it for the first time and being caught off guard, which is always a wonderful feeling. 
  • Honorable mention goes to the villains because this is where I first met Black Mask who is TERRIFYING. Not Professor Pyg worthy, but still. Awful.
And maybe a little Red Skull-y

And maybe a little Red Skull-y

That’s it for this week! Tune in next week to see if the Comic Matchmaker finds your true Comic Love.

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