Top critical review
Eh... A bit predictable.
Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2019
I came into this collection with the excitement gained from the story's popularity and all the 4 and 5 star reviews here on Amazon. Reading into the first one or two issues, a character was introduced into Batman canon that apparently had a huge part in Bruce's childhood. I thought, He must be the bad guy! Turns out I was right. There's a twist at the end involving a "true mastermind behind it all" story device, but it wasn't set up well in the earlier part of the collection, so it still felt very anti-climactic. The whole story arc plays like a mystery and, yet, the new character's backstory is explored so perfectly parallel to the title villain's lack of an identity reveal, that you kind of just end up waiting for Jeph Loeb to get to the point. Plus, with the inclusion of other, more famous Batman rogues gallery villains stepping in for, let's face it, glorified cameos, everything, by the end, just feels a bit jumbled and not thoroughly fleshed out.
The artwork is great, though I, personally, am not the greatest fan of the "modern" look in comics these days, where most colors are added in digitally, giving the whole page a very "shiny, pristine" appearance. That's just personal taste, however. Jim Lee's drawings stand out better than Jeph Loeb's writing here, to be blunt.
Not as good as The Long Halloween, Loeb's other, more famous Batman story, but even that kind of had a "shrug-it-off-and-accept-it-as-good" set of final panels. Personally, I don't think too highly on this one. A better Batman mystery to check out might be The Court of Owls saga.