Bruce Wayne comes up against one the mightiest foes to ever strike Gotham: a natural disaster.
Batman: Cataclysm is a hefty collection of books not just Batman’s. Catwoman, Batgirl, Azrael, Nightwing and Robin all get their own take on the version of events during the earthquake which strikes Gotham City. I prefer the longer collections as I feel I am more likely to get my money’s worth which is what attracted me to make the purchase (this one again was from Forbidden Planet in Liverpool at a reduced price – I think tenner) and in all honesty I thought the reduced price was the price it sh
ould have been if books were priced around quality. It’s not a bad book by any stretch but it could have done with some trimming – similar to the Knightfall collections. Cataclysm serves as a prologue to the massive No Man’s Land arc.
Batman: Cataclysm Review
Batman: Cataclysm begins with a report that an earthquake is about to hit Gotham, the Batcave and Wayne Manor is destroyed and throughout Gotham the city is ravaged by the quake and everything that would naturally happen to a built up city occurs. Fires, collapses, riots and tragic loss of life. Batman is caught in a bad situation following the destruction and is fighting for his life for the first third or so of the book and the other members of Gotham’s finest rally around
to help – Nightwing, Robin and Catwoman are stretched dealing with the carnage. Azrael makes somewhat of a cameo along with Bane and to be honest it felt completely pointless, didn’t have too much bearing on what was going on and lessened how much of upper-tier villain that Bane is (in my opinion).
From the early point of the quake to the end of the book the plot line struggled to pull me in and to tempt me to read one more chapter, as I read this over the course of a week or so I found myself being able to easily put the book down to go to sleep, sometimes it felt like a chore to just get
the chapter done so I could do something else. I expect the quake to be a backdrop to a much deeper plot line but I was disappointed; the plot line really was the heroes dealing with the quake and nothing else. Even the mystery surrounding the ‘Quakemaster’ didn’t interest me, I wanted to know his identity but I wasn’t desperate to find out like I did with ‘Hush’.
Cataclysm, did however introduce me personally to some new characters (I don’t read them in order) in Spoiler and Huntress but their characters didn’t seem to shine during the crisis – maybe that was Cataclysms biggest downfall – throwing so many characters into a convoluted plot not leaving enough time or page space to really allow any character to thrive.
My favourite part of the whole book was in Arkham Asylum involving Joker, Killer Croc, Riddler and Scarecrow and sa
dly it didn’t last any longer than it did. Perhaps the events inside the Asylum were just a welcome break from the fire and the falling buildings to my sub conscious.
The artwork was on par with what I’d expect from a book written and drawn in 1998 however I got really bored with seeing buildings in ruins and fire page after page after page.
In all honesty I can’t say I’ve ever read a truly bad Batman book and I still haven’t but if someone asked me for a recommendation for what to read next in the Batman series this wouldn’t be one of them.
A trade paperback which was stretched beyond belief without a strong plot line to hold it together, Batman Cataclysm fails to provide many thrills and feels more of a marathon than a thrill ride.