Batman: Night of the Monster Men (Rebirth) by Steve Orlando

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“People need to see we’re all in this together. No matter what uniform we wear.”

— Steve Orlando, Batman: Night of the Monster Men

    You know what I despise the most about these crossover events nowadays? It’s this tingling feeling that I get every time I jump into them. That feeling that screams that one of their biggest intentions isn’t to deliver a series-wide major event that remains solid both in story and artwork, but a cash-grab attempt to get people to check out the other series that they might not be following. Night of the Monster Men is a crossover event that has its repercussions felt throughout Detective Comics (Rebirth) , Nightwing (Rebirth) and Batman (Rebirth) runs. Being the first crossover event part of the Rebirth era of DC Comics, hope for amelioration in regards of quality was much expected, yet failure was all that rose from this chaos.

    It was unquestionably scheduled to be spread around Halloween to get people in that childish horror vibe, but it also remains a retelling of the original Matt Wagner story of the Monster Men. This crossover event takes place between Batman: I am Gotham (Volume 1) and Batman: I am Suicide (Volume 2), between Detective Comics: Rise of the Batmen (Volume 1) and Detective Comics: The Victim Syndicate (Volume 2), and between Nightwing: Better Than Batman (Volume 1) and Nightwing: Bludhaven (Volume 2). Stretching over 6 issues, two from each of these series, Batman: Night of the Monster Men brings Batman, his friends and Gotham together in a fight against the supernatural.

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    Most of the script in this story arc has Steve Orlando taking the lead, while writers Tom King, Tim Seeley and James Tynion IV still kept their hands in the game as consultants. I don’t want to put the whole blame on one writer, but man the writing in this story was just blatantly dry. There’s nothing in here that warrants an applause and the fact that the key ideas aren’t new (essentially comes from the original story by Matt Wagner) leaves this story absolutely empty of novelty. The story focuses on a Gotham rescue mission conducted by our vigilantes in order to save civilians from the wrath of huge monsters unleashed by Hugo Strange. The story is told through different POVs, and also has several side-horror stories revolving around Orphan (Cassandra Cain) and Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) and a cave parasite or around Nightwing and Gotham Girl and their little endeavor to insanity.

    Throughout the series, a lot of characters were also butchered compared to their first story arcs in their respective series. I’m especially looking at Batwoman. Gotham Girl also continues to be a painful sight, although she has never managed to capture my interest since her introduction in Batman: I am Gotham (Volume 1). I also felt like the action scenes were a lot more static than dynamic in giving characters the chance to be who they really are. While these monsters were fun, they were still really childish and innocent. For ginormous aberrations that would require sophisticated tactics, these creatures were easily taken care of. Another big downside in this crossover event is how Hugo Strange, the main villain who triggers these events, barely gets the opportunity to portray himself and build the tension. In fact, they really rushed his motives and made every single moment look atrociously ridiculous. How exactly will you convince people about his obsession for Batman through such an exposition?

    The artwork also wavers from acceptable to mediocre throughout the run. Maybe if it had some sort of pattern that worked to convey the whole monster vibe better, I would’ve enjoyed it better. Who am I kidding? Even the best artwork couldn’t save this story. There might have been 1 or 2 issues that had decent style and colouring, otherwise… eh… I always felt like crossover events that incorporated multiple series together would have a very hard time in maintaining consistency from one issue to another. Artwork is no exception.

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    In the end, what really killed this story is the script. The dialogues were really void of any strength and conviction. It sometimes felt repetitive and other times dwelt too long on the same idea. Night of the Monster Men still had potential ideas that could’ve been executed in a much better way. These ideas basically came from the original story, but with an opportunity like this to retell the original tale at a much modern day, it’s very sad that they couldn’t draw up something better.


Did you read Batman: Night of the Monster Men yet? What did you think about it?
You haven’t read it, you say?
Let’s fix that right away!
You can order your copy @Amazon Canada / Indigo Chapters right here!
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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★☆☆☆/

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19 thoughts on “Batman: Night of the Monster Men (Rebirth) by Steve Orlando

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Tell me about it! With the whole Rebirth era of DC Comics, they actually switched to a “cheaper” but more “frequent” release of “shorter” single comic issues. Going for 2.99$ US per issue at an issue every 2 weeks still feels super dangerous for our wallets! And.. of course.. nothing like getting low quality stuff… *insert anger*

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Dialog and artwork were a huge downfall in my last GN review – Injection. The dialog was so sparse and the artwork seemed to jump back and forth between two shades of bland 😦 I just completed Black Hole though and loved it!!! Awesome review as always my friend. Hoping the next is better!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Yes, it really stinks when we come across stories where both of those elements don’t meet our expectations or even reach an acceptable level. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed Black Hole though!!! Looking forward to reading your review for that. 😀 Thanks for checking out my review though, I appreciate it! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bookstooge says:

    3 bucks for a comic every 2 weeks?!? I remember when…*shakes cane*

    This is why I never buy a comic/gn/manga until I’ve gotten hold of a copy one way or another to check it out. I can’t afford mistakes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Hahaha! That’s only to follow ONE comic series. As you may have noticed from my reviews, I follow TWO of them (Batman and Detective Comics) cause.. you know.. Batman. 😀 Since I’m following these series in its single floppy issue format because I want to be up to date about anything related to Batman, I don’t mind if the series ends up being complete crap. It does suck when you start a new series to see if it’ll hook you and you reserve yourself up to around six issues (normal size of a story arc) to see if its your cup of tea or not cause.. disappointment would stink. I think single comic issues should be for people who are fans of a certain series/character. It will strongly please their collector personality. 😀 Anyone else who just wants to seek out great stories should aim for trade paperback formats of the series (released a bit later than comic issues). Everything comes down to what you like to consume and how big of a fan you are of whatever you are buying!

      But man… $$$$ is always an issue.. After all… besides two comic series, there’s always the possibility of a series to begin out of the blue and pique your interest!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Oh I’m sorry this one wasn’t a book you enjoyed Lashaan, the picture you posted of the artwork looks gorgeous but I guess if the dialogue wasn’t as good it couldn’t really save the story could it?
    I do get what you mean about crossover events though. I feel that, as fun as it can sometimes be to see characters/events/worlds come together, sometimes it’s just not well done; and they seem to rely on the characters to hold up the story.
    Still great review! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Ahahah the pictures are from 1 of the 2 (out of 6) issues that had decent artwork. I didn’t want to put the uglier ones (in my opinion) in fear of making this story arc sound really, really bad. 😀 Crossover events can be quite complicated at times too. Giving different POVs in such a short time (six comic issues is pretty short) is a huge challenge. It would’ve been nice if they had worked harder, in the short time they had, to come up with a stronger story to tell. Definitely not the most impressive crossover event that they could’ve done for now. I have huge hope for the next one though (it sounds like it’ll be much more important in terms of universe impact). 😀 Thank you so much for reading Beth!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        Well those ones were pretty, but yeah I guess better to leave out the photos of the uglier ones.
        Sometimes whatever the book/story/genre too many POVs can be tricky to manage. I guess if this story wasn’t strong enough in the first place too many POVs would have just weakened the overall story even more. Well either way I’m glad you’re still looking forwards to the next one!
        That’s all right. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      It had an intriguing beginning, with a nice “come-together-Gotham-to-save-Gotham” idea, but everything went downhill after that. They tried to create character drama, but I feel like they massively failed (Gotham Girl and Duke Thomas, for example, or even Spoiler and her issues after what happened previously). Definitely not a crossover event anyone should hurry to check out.

      Like

  4. Chris Evans says:

    Great review mate, I’ve been looking forward to you covering this as we’ve both fleetingly commented on how disappointing we found the “Monster Men” crossover to be.

    I’m aware of the Matt Wagner story but haven’t read it but my thoughts generally mirror yours, this was a drab, unoriginal commercial cash grab…I too loath these big crossovers that are stringed together through numerous titles. Whilst the story wasn’t particulalry great, one of the biggest problems for me was the art (sometimes a problem with all of DC’s Rebirth titles due to the twice-monthly publishing schedule), the mishmash of styles made it visually inconsistent.

    Luckily the Batman and Detective Comics titles were able to recover (the most recent arc of Tom King’s Batman, “I am Bane” was pretty good and managed to keep the same artist throughout)…I’m especially looking forward to “the Button” which kicks off next week (I think) in Batman and crosses over with the Flash f(only for two issues). The best news is that the awesome Jason Fabok is handling the art on the Batman issues!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Thanks man! Yep… I’ve been avoiding this review just so that I wouldn’t have to “revisit” my memories of it when I first read it. It was seriously a monstrous disaster.

      I actually did read Matt Wagner’s original story of this where you truly see a Hugo Strange psychoanalyzing and obsessing over Batman. I’d definitely say its better than what we got with this Rebirth “retelling” without saying that it was perfect or anything. But man… the artwork was a TRUE letdown in this crossover. It’s insane how tragically different it would be from one issue to the other. If I stand correct only the Batman issues had decent artwork throughout the event, but… in no way did they compensate for the artwork of the other four issues.

      I’ve heard wonderful things about I am Bane. I just have to pass by my comic book store to pick up the issues soon. Dude, I can’t wait to see how “The Button” crossover event is going to be like. I already have both Flash issues related to the crossover event in my pull-list. It’s about time that they investigate the bigger threat!

      Liked by 1 person

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