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Batman: Death by Design Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, June 5, 2012
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"...crisp, clean style that is both awe-inspiring and regal."—IGN
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a piece filled with some really interesting ideas, and an 'Elseworlds' take on the character to a certain extent. The book, while never stated to be in a specific year, based of reference, style, and dialogue seems to take place in the 1930's. The book opens with artist Dave Taylor (who drew about 10 issues of BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT in the 90's and then a decent amount of JUDGE DREDD afterwards) giving some beautiful pencilled cityscapes as Batman tests a grappling gun on the old Wayne Central Station, a historic landmark marred by the passage of time and is soon to be razed by Bruce Wayne himself. However, during Wayne's press conference, a massive construction crane topples and almost kills everybody there. Naturally, it's time for Bruce to put on the cape and cowl and put his "world's greatest detective" skills to work.
And naturally, there are several suspects to this case: thuggish Union boss Bart Loar; the new station's primadonna architect Kem Roomhaus; the mysteriously-missing original architect Gregor Greenside; the beautiful suffragette 'urban preservationist' Cyndia Syl.Read more ›
The plot revolves around the demolition of the crumbling Wayne Central Station. Socialite Cyndia Syl is protesting the loss of an architectural treasure and the mysterious Exacto is warning about a lack of structural integrity in new construction.
The story comes off as some kind of vague morality tale. I'm just not sure exactly what scriptwriter Chip Kidd is trying to say. Is it a condemnation of labour union leaders? A plea to save old buildings? Or a call to build new ones that are more energy efficient?
Kidd trots out a classic nemesis in what I can only assume is an attempt to inject a bit of much needed excitement. Sadly, not even the Joker can breathe life into this thing.
At least Dave Taylor's artwork is appealing. The charcoal drawings give Death by Design a nice retro feel. It's just too bad they are wasted on such a lacklustre story.
This is a whodunit story, yet Batman's master detective skills are barely used, here. I know this takes place in his early days as Batman, but maybe that was a mistake for this type of story. Or maybe the writer, Kidd, should have used that as a vehicle for Bruce to test his detective skills for the first time.
and Why is the Joker in this book? His character has no point what-so-ever in this story. He just shows up out of nowhere and has no motivation to the main plot, except to act as a Dastardly character to the female lead, in the end.
It's a visually striking book, mostly black and white with subtle hints of color, faded green or pale blue. Finely-executed drawings on one page are augmented with rough charcoal renderings on the next, simple yet stylized panel layouts with an eye for the dramatic. The result is something that looks and feels like a classic superhero comic of the 1940's, but with a modern edge. I stopped every page or so to admire the artistry of it.
The story is an interesting idea, but ultimately tries to do too much with too little to go on. With the Wayne Central train station decaying and nearly falling apart, Bruce Wayne is overseeing the replacement of his father's legacy. Thick with architectural trivia, union contracts and political intrigue, a misplaced appearance from the Joker, a love interest for Bruce Wayne, new gadgetry for Batman, and a new pseudo-hero in Exacto, 'Death by Design' feels like a story in search of a point. Ultimately, the story crumbles under the weight of its ambition. Removing some of the elements (the Joker's presence seems most obviously unnecessary) might have made it work better overall.
I can appreciate the ideas here - a love of classic building and classic storytelling, an appreciation for the art of the previous century. The art of this story makes a great showcase for those ideas, but when it comes to the story itself, 'Death by Design' lived up to its own title - what killed it was inherent in its design.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am 26 and have only been reading comics for 3 months and loved this book! The art was phenomenal in the story was good also in my opinion.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
GREAT ARTWORK AND STORY LINE. THE ARTWORK AND PLOT MAKES THE READER TRANSPORTED TO A TIME THE BATMAN FIRST APPEARED IN THE PUBLIC EYE. Read morePublished 11 months ago by TIGER 11
This is a perfect rendition of batman. Beautifully illustrated and good story. If you grew up loving the afternoon art deco "Batman: The Animated Series" you'll love this... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Christa Young
This book has a really cool visual take on Batman and Gotham. However, it is one of the weaker stories.Published 12 months ago by M, Eric Lewis
Batman: Death by Design is a unique Batman graphic novel due to it's exceptional artwork, but in the story department it comes across a bit lackluster. Read morePublished 17 months ago by J. Gatsby
This story reads like a classic 1940s film. First of all, the art is incredible. It's not just the sophisticated, Bob Kane-inspred pencil drawings, but also the retro styling of... Read morePublished on February 1, 2014 by Corey Douglas
The book is really nice, over sized, you can see the pencils, but the story is very generic.
It is nice to show and to collect, but not that great to read
If you are fan of Batman(and who isn't) then you when like this book. The art is some of the best I have seen in awhile, the story great. Read morePublished on January 20, 2014 by Jamie Langley
This is a really great book - with a very unique look and feel. Great for any Batman fan or collector.Published on August 14, 2013 by William Hemmingson