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Batman and the Monster Men Paperback – August 23, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up–Bruce Wayne is in love, but trouble in Gotham gets in the way of his burgeoning relationship with Julie Madison, aspiring attorney and daughter of magnate Norman Madison. Batman's duties have multiplied in recent weeks as a series of unusually gruesome attacks have left at least one mutilated body floating in the sewer and have kept Julie waiting impatiently for Bruce. And of course, loan shark and mob boss Sal Maroni continues to wreak havoc among his clients. In cooperation with Captain Jim Gordon at Gotham PD, Batman gets the evidence he needs to discover the source of the vicious attacks–genetically mutated monsters created by renegade Professor Hugo Strange, a man with a Napoleon complex and money on loan from Sal Maroni. When Julie's father becomes entangled with Maroni, Bruce's emotional investment rises, and Batman must do everything in his power to bring down Maroni. The graphics are high quality, giving the appropriate darkness to the masked man and excellent detail to the mutated monsters. Both longtime readers and new fans of Batman will appreciate this chapter in the story.–Sarah Krygier, Solano County Library, Fairfield, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Writer-artist Wagner, best known for his independent-comics creations Grendel and Mage, here updates a pre-Robin Batman adventure, vintage 1940, that portends the crucial change, from mere gangsters to supervillains, in the kind of criminals menacing Gotham City. In it, mad scientist Hugo Strange conducts genetic experiments that transform his victims into gigantic, flesh-eating "monster men." Wagner retains the original's verve and adds modern sophistication with both his simple but powerful art and his compelling storytelling. There's plenty of Batman product on the market, but Wagner's stands far apart from the rest. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (August 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401210910
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401210915
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Batman & the Monster Men" collects the six issue limited series into trade paperback format and is written and illustrated by Matt Wagner. Wagner sets this story in early Batman history, just about a year or so after the caped crusader first made his appearance in Gotham City. One of the advantages of setting a story in the past like this is that it gives the writer some poetic license to re-envision things as he likes and Wagner takes advantage of this in several ways. One is in the introduction of the Batmobile after Batman's first remote controlled, and rather mundane looking vehicle is destroyed in a crash. There's a rather amusing scene in the book when Alfred sees the car for the first time and wonders why Batman doesn't add tailfins to make it look even more like a bat...and idea that Batman takes quite seriously.

Another new Wagner take is Batman's first encounter with Professor Hugo Strange. Strange first appeared in Detective Comics #36. His appearance actually preceded the first appearance of the Joker by a couple of months. In this story, Strange is regarded as a rather crackpot scientist doing work in genetic research. He rounds up lost, homeless men off the streets to use as test subjects, and eventually mutates several into hulking monsters with a taste for human flesh. Besides Strange, the story's other main villain is local mobster Sal Maroni who is loaning Strange the money for his experiments. What he doesn't know is that Strange is using his monsters to bust up illegal gambling houses run by Maroni and stealing the money. He's using the mobster's own money to pay him back!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steven Scott VINE VOICE on December 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
Batman and the Monster Men takes place roughly one year into Batman's career. It's a retro story placing an older storyline into current continuity and has Batman dealing with the mafia as usual, but for the first time faces a much greater challenge he's never dealt with before.

At this point in his career, Batman believes he is on the brink of putting an end to organized crime in Gotham once he puts an end to the much talked about, but never seen, Carmine Falcone's operations. In addition to the Dark Knight, our main cast of characters includes Professor Hugo Strange, Sal Maroni, Jim Gordon, Julie Madison (Bruce Wayne's love interest), and her father Norman Madison.

What initially brought this novel to my attention was Matt Wagner. I had read Trinity and enjoyed his thoughtful insights on the characters as well as his beautiful artwork. Some have criticized Wagner's illustrations as being too simple, but he captures the characters' facial expressions and mood so vividly, you don't even need to read the text to know what they're thinking about. And speaking of dialogue, the characters have some great lines in addition to solid character development through their inner thoughts. Typically, I'm used to just reading stories told from one character's perspective, but in Monster Men, we get to know each of the previous characters listed personally through their thoughts, which was a unique way of narrating. There were a few times in Trinity where I wasn't sure if Wagner quite had Batman's character down, but here he nails his personality exactly how he should be portrayed. Dark, moody, secretive and most importantly, determined.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Batman and the Monster Men" isn't bad. In fact, it's probably pretty good if you enjoy seeing the Dark Knight going against super-powerful adversaries. Personally, I prefer to have him go up against clever but non-super foes such as Joker, Penguin or a criminal scientist, or even a villain with offbeat and somewhat limited powers such as Bane or Matt Hagen's version of Clayface. I'm a longtime Batman fan, so I can enjoy just about anything featuring him; but I've read better, and probably won't re-read this one too often.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julian Pope on September 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
I liked this book, not every Batman graphic novel is going to be Year One or The Dark Knight Returns, I know fans wish they would be but thats not the way it works. The reason those books are as good as they are is because of a special, rare blend of talent and circumstance.

Matt Wagner's dual volumed Batman story (Batman and the Monster Men & Batman and the Mad Monk) read to me almost like an updated golden age Batman story with a healthy side of sadism and ultra violence. Not having been a big fan of Wagner's (couldn't even finish Trinity) I'm not sure what I initially expected. Being of the more few artist/writers these days, projects can be more difficult as you are doing double duty, one may suffer from lack of attention in hopes that at least the other may flourish.

With Wagner's Batman story the art isn't the best, although better than acceptable in my opinion, the writing is good and the stories are better. Overall Monster Men was the better book but Mad Monk was darker and better ended. I rented these books at my local library.
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