BATMAN: ODYSSEY (DC, First Printing, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects Batman: Odyssey #1-6 and Batman: Odyssey Vol. 2 #1-7 (cover dates September, 2010- June, 2012)
Writer and Artist: Neal Adams
Inkers: Michael Golden, Scott Williams, Bill Sienkiewicz, Paul Neary, Josh Adams, and Kevin Nowlan
Colorists: Continuity Studios, Ginger Karalexas, Cory Adams, Moose Baumann, and Guy Major
Before I begin, let me state that I love Neal Adams. The man is a genius whose panel composition and sense of movement and flow helped redefine comics and set the stage for the Bronze Age of comics. In the 60s and 70s he crafted some of the most memorable Batman stories of all time, restoring him to his Golden Age glory.
The idea of Neal Adams returning to the character for a 13 issue mini-series sounds great on paper. The general consensus on the internet was that this was a batshit crazy story and best avoided. So I did avoid it. For years. Still, I always wondered what it was all about.
One day I decided to finally plunk down and buy this book. The only thing that I can say after reading it is that it is apparent how much pull Neal Adams has at DC to this day. His writing is batshit insane, with this “odyssey” going from flashback sequences to the beginning of the character to Batman breaking into Arkham Asylum to Batman teaming up with subterranean caveman and dinosaur people versions of him and Robin while riding flying dinosaurs, all in one of the most convoluted, nonsensical stories I've ever read.
I'm not being the slightest bit hyperbolic here, folks. This is tough to follow. The story shifts gears so many times that it becomes difficult to make heads or tails of what is supposed to be going on. A strong editor is needed to reign in a few of these convoluted plot twists as well as to streamline the dialogue. Nobody wants to step on Adams' toes due to his legendary status, but if they really loved and respected his work they would give it to him straight: This can be hard to follow.
In terms of artwork, Adams can still do brilliant panel composition. His sense of movement and story flow are still in check. The coloring is at times overly rendered and heavy handed with digital gimmicks. This and the inconsistency of the inking coupled with an overly written, difficult to follow story sink this book. It breaks my heart to write this, but it's not very good. I wish that it were. I love Neal Adams. This book doesn't change that, but I wish that it were better.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials of physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.
Paper stock: Glossy coated stock.
Binding: Perfect bound (read: glued).
Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: Glossy laminated dustjacket. The same cheap hardback boards with the same chintzy casewrap that DC has been passing off on folks for years.