Batman vs. Aliens 2
by Ian Edginton, Staz
Johnson, James Hodgkins
(DC/Dark Horse, 2003)

When Batman squares off with the aliens for round two, it's even more intense than their first bout.

A scientist who discovered a clutch of alien eggs in Antarctica in the late 1920s brought samples home to Gotham. Realizing his error too late, he sealed them and himself in an impregnable underground fortress. But "impregnable" in the '20s doesn't mean much to 21st-century demolition experts, and the stronghold is breached during some routine urban renewal. Something has survived -- and it wasn't the scientist. And now there are aliens loose in Gotham City.

This is the nightmare that plagued every story since Alien first brought these devastating killers to theaters in 1979. Fortunately, they didn't come to light in Philadelphia, Chicago or any other city where superheroes are in short supply -- and the Batman has dealt with these foes before.

The first two books of this three-part series are tense and exciting. The aliens take to the subways and begin taking hosts for their few remaining eggs (which, apparently, have a very long shelf-life). In book 2, the government gets involved, and once again, short-sighted military minds see the destructive potential without figuring out that, hey, they're mortal, too. Writer Ian Edginton kicks up the intensity when aliens find their way into Arkham Asylum, where Batman's greatest foes reside.

Unfortunately, the story loses steam in book 3, where Edginton tries to crank things up to a new level and flops. Crossing an alien and a crocodile in Central America was cool; crossing several aliens with the likes of Joker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy and Scarecrow is, well, just plain dumb. The sight of several alien 'breeds dressed in pseudo-military garb, toting guns and bearing the trademark characteristics of these hallowed villains is silly, not scary -- and since when did the Joker's chemical bath and Two-Face's twisted profile become genetic, anyway?

Still, two out of three isn't bad, and fans of either the Batman or the aliens will enjoy the first two books of this series immensely.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 28 June 2003

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