Batman: Eye of the Beholder is a 2011 Batman storyline and collected edition written by Tony S. Daniel, along with Eye of the Beholder itself, the collected edition has a shorter story at the end called Pieces which is also written by Daniel. It’s set pre New 52 at the latter end of Bruce Wayne’s modern age career after Bruce Wayne returns from the ‘dead’ following Final Crisis. Here, Dick Grayson is still the Gotham Batman as Bruce is working with Batman Inc and Damian Wayne is Robin. Anyway, that’s the overview- how did the book stack up?
Some may think that while Batman Incorporated was going on then everything else in the Bat-world was a filler, including Eye of the Beholder and perhaps they’d be right. The overall quality of Batman stories (Grant Morrison run) seemed better when Bruce was completely absent. Now that he is ‘back’ the stories Grayson seems to be given do seem watered down.
Anyway, the story in Eye of the Beholder is pretty basic but with a fresh look, I feel, thanks to the Asian influences. A new threat is coming to Gotham as the hunt begins for an ancient relic which is a mask, the ‘Beholder’ is also a wanted man in connection to this ancient power. That’s pretty much it from start to end really. However, in the middle of everything are a lot of fights, more than enough side kicks and a lack of real grit and plot twists. The pacing is pretty bland throughout with very few high and lows for that matter so you never feel like you’re out of third gear. Daniel doesn’t quite fit everything he would like in the four issues Eye of the Beholder gets but what he does fit in is very bloated.
It’s ‘Sensei’ who’s after the mask and between him and his target and a myriad of characters which are the bloat – first is ‘Peacock’ an Asian superhero who one minute looked like a civilian the next a superhero, The Riddler who has a hippie look about him and a demeanour of a gang thug as opposed to a calculated mastermind, Enigma, Riddler’s daughter, who brought nothing to the table and finally Catgirl – the less said about her the better.
Even Batman himself seems to take a backseat and Damian certainly did which meant that the sidekicks were essentially the main characters. Perhaps Daniels just doesn’t like Dick in the suit and wanted to write about anything else?
With so many sidekicks going on Daniel seems to have squeezed a bit too much into four issues leaving the storyline a bit flat and readers wondering what’s just happened. Artwork, however, is another story and it is top not in Eye of the Beholder. Really good.
After Eye of the Beholder there is the second story, a three issue Two-Face story called Pieces. Batman does feature in it but very little, Two-Face is definitely the main character and Riddler stick his head in from time to time. Daniel isn’t the strongest Batman writer and he definitely isn’t the strongest Two-Face writers either, the story is barely-there and the character development was non existent.
Pieces looks to have been written to be an epic tale of what it’s like being the legendary criminal Harvey Dent and it just wasn’t. Time seemed to drag as I was reading it and I’m glad it’s now over.
Overall, if you like Dick Grayson as Batman then this is another one for you. It’s a good enough book with some great art but it’s nowhere near a masterpiece thanks to Daniel fitting way too much into 4(3) issues than he needed to at the expense at a well constructed plot and character development.
Last update on 2018-10-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API