Batman: War Drums
by various writers & artists (DC Comics, 2004)

War Drums, collected from the monthly Detective and Robin books, is the prelude to the all-encompassing War Games storyline that dominated DC's Batman titles in 2004. But, title and good intentions aside, this collection does little to build tension for the dramatic events to follow.

One throwaway chapter is a convoluted story about a pop idol willing to kill to keep her secrets. It serves mostly to underscore the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Dr. Leslie Thompkins, who aided him after the death of his parents and now works at a clinic on the bad side of Gotham.

The major storyline collected here features Stephanie Brown, the teen heroine called Spoiler, who makes a short-lived bid to be the next Robin after her ex-beau, Tim Drake, relinquishes the cape. Anyone who knows anything about the Batman world knows Stephanie wasn't long for the job.

The stories here aren't bad at all. And Stephanie's brief outing as Robin certainly warrants collecting. But the book's connection to the forthcoming War Games is tenuous at best -- although one development, which you won't discover until you're a good ways through War Games, does lead directly into the next epic yarn.

review by
Tom Knapp

24 May 2008

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