Review by: sciencenate

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community think?

Avg Rating: 3.0
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Size: pages
Price: 9.99
I must admit – I am not a fan of Manga. Honestly, I
could almost say that I hate it. You must understand that I am a child
of the 80’s. I grew up watching some of the greatest cartoons ever made
including Thundercats, TMNT, Transformers, and GI Joe. Now, years
later, I turn on the TV and wonder “What happened to all the good
cartoons.” It seems that media has become saturated with Japanese
animation. I look at Saturday morning cartoons and many current popular
shows and notice that they all feature characteristics common to
Japanese animation. Furthermore, at bookstores around the nation,
graphic novels and comic book sections are being downsized and replaced
with large Manga sections. Please note, I am not opposed to the
Japanese culture or what they have to offer. I have many friends who
are Japanese or live in Japan. I even hope to visit there sometime
soon. What I am saying is that if given a choice between artists like
Jim Lee and George Perez or a mainstream Japanese artist, I will choose
Jim Lee every time.
So, when I read the DC
was going to release a Batman limited series written and drawn by one
of Japan’s most popular Manga artists, I was skeptical to say the
least. When the first issue was released, I flipped though it and
decided not to buy it in sigle issue form, but instead wait for the
trade to be released. At that point, I would review it again. Then,
last week, a rather light pull list and a 20% discount off of new
trades at my local shop were enough to convince me to pick up a copy of
Batman: Death Mask by esteemed author and artist Yoshinori Natsume. The
trade collects all the issues of the miniseries in a compact,
manga-sized edition for only $9.99!

I was extremely pleased with this book. The general tone of the art was
what I expected, and although I initially decided to simply “endure”
it, by the end of the book, I found myself enjoying the art more and
more. I still prefer a style like Jim Lee, but I did find myself
enjoying Natsume’s use of lines to show motion or flashbacks and his
use of shadowing in appropriate areas. I also really enjoyed Natsume’s
great use of onomatopoeia. Each page contained references such as
“Bang, “Rumble,” “Woosh,” and others. While some might view his use of
onomatopoeia as too extreme (when compared to American comics), I found
it enjoyable, feeling as if I could actually “hear” the action. This
aspect of Natsume’s work is something I would like to see more in
American comics. Finally, I really enjoyed the storyline. It was great
to see an artist connect his culture and history with that of a
well-known character. The storyline seemed to fit well into the current
continuity and was not so extravagant that it would have to be labeled
an “Elseworlds” story. I felt that by reading this I got to know more
about the man, Bruce Wayne, and how he has been shaped into the
vigilante known as the Batman.

I highly recommend this book to all Bat-fans!

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 4 - Very Good

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