BATMAN #7 kicks off DC’s first crossover event for the Bat-Family after the Rebirth event that restarted the series’ issue count. In Tom King’s first storyline, he gave us an examination of heroism, of Gotham City, and of the nature of grief and trauma. Throughout the story, he had peppered in teases for this crossover event, dropping the phrase “the Monster Men” several times in the earlier issues.

Fans of BATMAN may recognize that phrase as the title of a 2005 miniseries by Matt Wagner. In BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN, Dr. Strange is turning ordinary men into monsters and setting the monsters loose on his enemies.

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The premise of this version of the MONSTER MEN, written by Steve Orlando, is somewhat similar so far. In issue #1, Batman and his allies are attempting to rescue Gotham City’s citizens from a massive flood but find themselves facing down a giant mutated human that is uncontrollably destroying the city. Its appearance is similar to that of an infant, which has some sinister implications. After defeating the monster-infant, Batman’s deductions lead him to believe that Dr. Strange is behind everything. While we don’t know exactly what Strange’s involvement is, it is clear that he has some knowledge of the Monster Men that have been teased up to this point.

Batman #7- Doctor Strange

Since the previous MONSTER MEN storyline was relatively recent, it would be cool if Batman was incorrect about Strange. For people who have read the older story, this could be a surprising twist from their expectations. Plus, from the little we’ve seen of Strange so far, it appears that we’re getting a very new take on the character. He’s bigger and stronger, with all of his mental strength intact. Simply put, this is the first time I’ve ever looked at Dr. Strange as a worthy physical opponent to the Dark Knight, which is a credit to the whole creative team for reinventing and redesigning the villain.

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The art in BATMAN #7 was a bit more stylized than in the previous storyline, and I think this was due to the color choices by Ivan Plascencia. The flat tones made everything feel a bit grittier. There was some fine detail in the pencils and inks of Riley Rossmo, as well. I appreciated the shorter ears on Batman’s cowl, and the force of the wind whipping Batman and Batwoman’s capes was captured very well. Rossmo and Plascencia also did a fantastic job of representing the titular Monster Men and their transformation. The reveal of the second monster was a cool moment to end the issue on, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming battle.

batman #7 Title Page

As stated previously, this is the first issue kicking off a crossover event for DC’s Bat-Family, so if you want the full story, you’ll need to do a bit of shopping to get all the chapters. The second part of this story is in NIGHTWING this week, so be sure to check out BATMAN #7 if you don’t want to miss anything!

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