It took decades, but the comic world’s most famous shadow-hugging masked crimefighters finally meet in a twisted tale that captures the spirit of the late Will Eisner’s loopier work.

Title: Batman / The Spirit: Crime Convention

Writer: Jeph Loeb

Artwork: Darwyn Cooke.

Premise:

Commissioners Gordon and Dolan meet and recall the rather tall tale– now it can be told— of the time the Spirit met the Batman in Hawaii, saved the lives of both Gotham’s and Central City’s top cops, and faced down two Rogues Galleries worth of villains.

High Point

The writers have taken a humorous approach, and filled the story with gags and comic lines.

Low Point

Robin seems to appear and disappear from the story as needed.

The Scores

Originality: 3/6. The premise is standard crossover stuff, but the issue has fun with the conventions.

Artwork: 5/6. Darwyn Cooke smartly captures (the pun is inevitable) the spirit of Will Eisner’s style. He’s less comfortable with Batman. The cartoony approach to the villains suggests a child’s nightmare; they’re laughable and frightening at once. It’s little surprise Cooke will be working on DC’s new Spirit series, an arrangement apparently made with Eisner before he died.

Story: 4/6. The impossibly convoluted story is part of the fun here, but it does make for an awkward read. Loeb and Cooke have captured the wit associated with The Spirit.

Characterization: 4/6. The story juggles many characters, and assumes the readers can fill in the gaps. It’s a fair assumption; only a comic book fan would be reading Batman meets the Spirit.

Emotional response: 5/6. This comic has been waiting to happen, and it lives up to its premise. Hardline Batman fans will, of course, have to ignore regular continuity. Even the era in which these events take place remains in doubt: Robin is thirteen, Catwoman wears her current costume, and the vehicles, technology, and fashion blend various recent eras.

Flow 4/6. See comments under “Story.” However, a number of carry-over lines and images create a sense of coherence.

Overall: 5/6

In total, Batman / The Spirit Crime Convention receives a score of 30/42.

A sample of this comic may be found here at Crossover Comix.

The Timeshredder’s reviews may be found here.