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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Batman: Death By Design Graphic Novel Review

Until this point Chip Kidd has only been compiling his love for Batman in such works as Batman: Animated, Batman Collected, and Bat-Manga, but he finally got the chance to write his own Batman story.

Batman: Death by Design has the look of both the 1930s and the modern day, not unlike the time-ambiguous look of Batman: The Animated Series. Chip Kidd succeeded in making his vision of Gotham City as well as Batman unique and antiquated.

The story takes us to Gotham City, which is under a major renovation headed by none other than Bruce Wayne. Things take a mysterious turn when there are a number of design malfunctions causing casualties across the city. It is up to Batman to find out who is behind it all and stop them before Gotham crumbles. Inspired by the 1963 demolition of the Pennsylvania Station and the 2008 Manhattan crane collapses, Chip Kidd has constructed a riveting Batman tale for the ages.

Dave Taylor's visuals are nothing short of stunning. The charcoal/pencil sketch artwork is incredibly detailed peppered with muted splashes of color to flavor the important details. Taylor really captured the 1940s serial look for the artwork and gave it a touch of "space race" era flair. The panels are stunning and range from whole page epics to a 19 panel page (which doesn't skimp on the detail)!

Hands down, the artwork is what makes this graphic novel. The story can be convoluted at times and diluted with frivolous dialogue from new reports, but the core story is unique and never before seen in the Batman universe. It was an amazing venture for Chip Kidd to take on and I hope to see more of his stories to come.

Batman: Death by Design earns 8 out of 10 Skyscrapers!

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