War Games, Act 3

War Games 3Summary: Written by Ed Brubaker, Bill Willingham and others Art by Sean Phillips, Pete Woods and others Cover by James Jean The final volume of WARGAMES collects BATMAN #633, BATGIRL #57, CATWOMAN #36, ROBIN #131, BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #58.


War Games, Act 3, by various authors and artists 7.25

This is the final installment in the ‘War Games‘ storyline.

Look, I was incredulous in the previous book that Black Mask could so easily take the place of Orpheus by putting putty on his face and emulating his voice. As if.

But I decided to ignore it (hence no mention in my last blurb) and just go with it. But now Black Mask’s involvement is being twisted into knots to ramp up the finale.

For instance:

  • So… for some reason Black Mask decides to use his leverage as the new head of all the gangs to decimate them and start his own. What? Um… why bother?
  • And what a stupid way to make Batman’s plan fall apart – because everything hinged on Orpheus taking the lead, even though no plan was discussed between them.
  • And Batman had no back-up plan, and no way to communicate with the police when it all hits the fan? That doesn’t sound right at all – he seems to me like someone who would have considered every point and counterpoint. He’d have a contingency plan.

Ahem… hence the War Games themselves.

Anyway, it’s just an excuse for a huge mêlée involving Batman and his crew versus all the gangs, who escape with ease even though they were surrounded by the cops.

And this creates more tensions as the cops, who were following Batman’s orders, suddenly turn on him for not managing the situation properly. Gosh… can they ever be fickle!

It then becomes episodic, following each protagonist for a couple of pages at a time as they hunt down various villains. Yawn.

Black Mask, the Red Skull’s less impressive cousin (joke), then for some reason makes the mistake of thinking that the empty clocktower that Oracle works from is the Batcave.

So he attacks it, drawing the police and media there, broadcasting to the whole world his reveal of “Batman’s hideout”. Clearly he got his investigative skills from Geraldo Rivera.

Batman of course comes to save the day and they fight in a sequence that has the Dark Knight and Oracle arguing over his value in Gotham, as she pleads them to stop killing each other.

After just one panel of fighting.


Meanwhile, somehow, the near-dead Scarecrow Hulked out and went on a rampage. But the cops, directed to arrest all costumed heroes, are planning to stop them from saving the day.


Then it all ends with one big stupid, careless, dangerous move from Oracle.

Ultimately, the only thing that came of all of this is that Black Mask rose to the top of the underworld, reigning over the united crime families, and the superheroes are evermore distrusted.

Yet ready to fight another day.

This is what it all comes down to? That’s it? That’s all there is to it? All these contrivances, all these twists and so many characters to follow, and it ends like this, with a whimper?

I’m disappointed.

What do you think?

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