Graphic Novel Mondays is back for it's fourth appearance, courtesy of Jason Todd. This week's review is Paul Dini's Batman: Private Casebook. Featuring artwork by the talented Dustin Nguyen, Dini's Bat-world is brought to life, in various short stories featuring the Caped Crusader and many of his allies and enemies. There's some definite hits and misses though, so lets get right into it.
Batman: Private Casebook is a who's who of Batman mythos, while some of the bigger names like Joker, Two-Face, Nightwing and Robin are missing from these stories, other characters step up. Casebook includes five or six short stories (I can't remember off the top of my head) about our favorite Gothamite and includes appearances by Zatanna, Mad Hatter, Scarface, The Riddler, Ra's Al Gul, Catwoman, and Scarecrow. Casebook also features a well put together format, as it ties up loose ends from some comics that take place prior, for example Heart of Hush and The Resurrection of Ra's Al Gul. While the stories differ some of them are very well done while others feel rushed or insignificant.
One of the best written stories in this Casebook compilation in my opinion is the story featuring Zatanna. Without giving away anything to would-be-readers, I will say that Bruce and Zatanna give conversations with such believability that you feel like these are characters who truly do have a history, and thats a big plus when it comes to Dini's work. Other stories I felt didn't exhibit Batman behavior, like Batman entering chatrooms looking for information seemed odd to me ... maybe thats just weird to me though. I also didnt care for the Scarecrow story, it was too short, didn't feature Batman/Bruce Wayne at all and I felt it was an odd day to close the book. I know Dini loves Magicians, but I feel that Zatanna in three stories was overkill.
Overall Dini's writing with Nguyen's gritty art style makes for a good, but not very memorable book. I'd recommend checking this out, but I wouldn't spend over 13 dollars on it. Overall Paul Dini's Batman Private Casebook gets a 6.5/10.
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