For the first major Bat-crossover of the “Rebirth” era the creators involved are going all Kaiju Big Battle on us. While the entire Bat-team is getting ready to provide emergency assistance to Gotham as a hurricane bears down on the city things take a turn for the crazy when a giant monster starts barrelling down the streets. It turns out not to be the only one and the team’s efforts are now split between fighting the monster menace and evacuating the citizens in their way. Things get worse when the monsters are revealed to have regenerative/mutative properties and be just the tiniest bit contagious, while a lichen in the evacuation cave starts to cause everyone inside to riot. Taken together all of this starts to come off as more than a little… Strange?
“Night of the Monster Men” is a propulsive event that barrels through its six issues at a breakneck pace. It’s mainly the work of writer Steve Orlando, who scripted the event and co-plotted it with regular “Batman,” “Detective Comics,” and “Nightwing” writers Tom King, James Tynion IV, and Tim Seeley. That this is mainly coming from one writer is probably the main reason it reads so cohesively and is able to keep up its momentum to the end. Even so, Batman and company vs. Giant Monsters isn’t exactly a new idea and the story is so focused on the action that it doesn’t have time for any memorable character moments. There is an interesting idea about how the monsters represent the main antagonist’s diagnosis of Batman’s personality which manages to save the story from being a completely mindless thrill ride.
The art, from Riley Rossmo, Roge Antonio, and Andy MacDonald is generally solid with all three showing that they can deliver some impressive-looking monsters. Rossmo is the standout as his wiry style is appreciatively unconventional next to the other two artists here. This event also isn’t quite stand-alone as it involves certain characters and references specific events from the most recent volumes of “Batman” and “Detective Comics.” So if you’re like me and reading both of those titles then this one is basically a necessary read. It’s not a bad one, but I can’t say it has much appeal for anyone who isn’t already involved.