It’s an issue of inappropriate inking. Smith is so reductive on Colan’s Batman inks, the story loses any visceral impact. Instead, it becomes almost academic–seeing where Colan’s pencils have been too diluted for a page to work. The layouts are still fantastic, but not the finished art.
Moench resolves his Gordon storyline–while still stoking the Jason and Bruce one (and no one misses Alfred, which is strange)–and it’s a flop. It’s like no one told Moench Barbara Gordon was also Batgirl. And Moench attempts at inspirational flop painfully. It doesn’t help he’s got a bunch of hackneyed thugs out of a forties comic.
Still, great Colan layouts.
Then there’s the Green Arrow backup. Truly lame writing from Cavalieri can’t overshadow the odd art. Chuck Patton is a boring, superhero penciller. But Shawn McManus inks him, adding a lot of McManus lines. The story’s artistically interesting, if terrible.