Batman: War Games #2: Tides
by various writers & artists (DC Comics, 2005)

The gang war begun in Outbreak spills over into Tides with bloody and devastating results.

Batman, who initially was leading a holding action against the uncontrollable flood of mob violence, begins to recognize the patterns as the conflict unfolds as something he himself had planned but never initiated. He hopes to regain control of the runaway crisis, but a key piece in the game has been taken from the board -- without the Dark Knight's knowledge.

Robin, who had retired from the heroing business at his father's instance, returns to the field in the nick of time. However, Batman's brusque handling of the situation further estranges him from the Gotham police -- particularly Commissioner Akins, who was never solidly in Batman's corner like Gordon was -- and, even worse, strains his relationship with the indispensable Oracle.

Meanwhile, the young hero Spoiler -- who is in many ways at the heart of the war, although few if any players in the game realize it at this time -- tries to make things right but runs afoul of a villain who is far out of her league.

By no means just a bridge between the first and third volumes of War Games, Tides is loaded with action and some truly horrific developments. While this is not a good stepping-on place for Batman novices -- simply because of the sheer number of Bat family and supporting characters involved -- this is an excellent crossover collection that packs a lot of punch.

review by
Tom Knapp

5 July 2008

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