With Further Ado #251: The Best Batman Story Ever…?

I think I just read the best Batman story ever! Surprisingly, it didn’t even have Batman in it. It was in issue #3 of The Ambassadors. This comic is written by Mark Millar. Travis Charest illustrated it and it was just published by Image Comics.

Image described this “miniseries” series this way:

The most ambitious comic book of all time is finally here! Imagine that you could gift superpowers to six people. In a world of eight billion, who do you choose? Join six of the greatest artists in the industry for an enormous story about ordinary people from around the world explaining why it should be them.

That sums it all up pretty well. (Although is it the most ambitious of all time? I tend that to think that Don Simpson’s upcoming X-Amount of Comics: 1963 (WhenElse?!) Annual would get that appellation from me right about now.) In this series, a woman has created a way to bestow superpowers on people and has to choose the individuals who will receive them.

The third issue of The Ambassadors focuses on a French woman who is a single mom raising a difficult son. She reaches out to apply for these superpowers. It’s heartfelt and sweet and without giving anything away – it’s all a beautiful homage to both Batman and to parents who try really hard.

In fact, I’d rather not give anything away, and so I will instead just send out a big “Trust me” on this. I liked the first issue and thought these next two would be fun. I picked up issues two and three without any huge expectations. And the second issue was perfectly fine, but this third issue just blew me out of the water.

Travis Charest delivers top-notch artwork. It’s beautiful and inspiring. Some of his backgrounds go on and on. Charest’s facial close-ups are full of emotion. I’m so glad that the editors included a few black and white pages as extra pages in the back just so we can compare and contrast them with the finished product. I’m not sure which versions are more impressive.

I’m usually eager to jump onboard whenever Millar has a news series. I tend to really like them. But I have fallen off the train lately. I picked up a few random issues of The Magic Order, from volumes one and two, and I enjoyed them.

I worry I was so impressed by Millar making his huge deal with Netflix that when the first comic-into-a-TV show fizzled (Jupiter’s Legacy) it took some of the wind out of the sails for me. It shouldn’t have affected my purchasing the comics, but it did. But hey, after this third issue of Ambassadors, I’m definitely getting this whole series.

The Best Batman Story Ever? This kind of thinking is not without precedent. I remember that a few comic fans (and professionals) were saying back in 1998 that The Mask of Zorro was the best Batman movie. You might recall that that was the first of those two movies starring Antonio and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It was a great thriller and had all trappings of so many things that make Batman special.

Let me know what you think. And then, one day in the future, we can discuss if Mark Millar’s Starlight is in fact the best Flash Gordon story ever.

 

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