The Battle for Blüdhaven - DC (2006)

OK, I have a confession to make:

I have no idea where Blüdhaven is supposed to be. For a while, there, I was keeping up with the DC version of North America pretty well. I can still point to Gotham, Metropolis, Star City and Coast City (old and new) on a map. I'm a B-student of made-up geography.

I haven't really kept up with the Big Events in either mainstream universe. All the Crises and Wars have pretty much passed me by. I vaguely remember a reference to Blüdhaven a few years back in one of the Batman-related books but for all I knew it was a Swedish death-metal band.

Like many of the One Year Later issues, this issue does a decent job of catching me up on the past 52 weeks of story. It also tells me most of what I need to know about Blüdhaven. Well, except for why anyone would name an American city after something scrawled on the back of a 14-year-old boy's math notebook.

Blüdhaven is a pretty crappy place to live and all the government-sanctioned superheroes, radioactive freaks and that enormous wall haven't made things any better.

The characterizations are good and the dialogue manages to avoid being pure infodump which is nice. I almost always like Jimmy Palmiotti's writing (espeically in the last couple of years) and he and Justin Gray work well together. The art by Dan Jurgens and Palmiotti is well-executed and I've gotta give props to Javi Montes for the colors on this. They are appropriately dark without getting muddy. They really help convey how creepy and depressing this place is.

I'll pick up #2 to see where they're going with this. They're bound to mention it in relation to some other city at some point and then I can stick a pin in my mental DC map.

EDIT: A Google search reveals that Blüdhaven is next to Gotham City but has an even higher crime rate. That makes sense. Gotham is so fucked up that any town near it would have to call itself "Blüdhaven" just to keep from getting swallowed up by the weirdness that is Gotham.

The umlaut is for respect.

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