With The Batman finally hitting theaters soon, I thought I’d visit a series that seems to have been a big inspiration for the movie. While I was against this rendition at first, even damn near hating it at first, I cooled off and gave it a fresh chance. Was I wrong or simply proved right?
A new figure has emerged in the dismal city of Gotham, overrun with mob violence and crime on every street. This figure we know as the Batman, Bruce Wayne but far from the legendary detective and badass. Batman is a brawler in a costume with a lot of anger and not much else. His longtime guardian, butler, and trainer Alfred warn him he’s on the path to suicide as a nonlethal soldier in an impractical costume that relies on brute force instead of guns or weapons. Looking for revenge for his parents’s murders, the rising bat follows a train of clues, running parallel to broken detective Jim Gordan and superstar Harvey Bullock that bring him to the corrupt and sadistic mayor of Gotham: Oswald Cobblepot.
So I was pretty wrong in this case. After years and years of perfect Batman, this was a pretty refreshing if not really flawed look at Batman. I mean REALLY flawed. Alfred was a huge standout in this book; I love how he harbors resentment for Bruce and he’s bitter being strung along by duty and his own morality but he’s tired and he’s watching someone he ultimately cares about toss his life away fighting a war he isn’t even trying to win. I do love Penquin in this book and Colin Farrel is a spot on in The Batman so far as the Earth One version. I will saythe story itself is pretty standard and runs awfully close to Batman: Year One and Batman Begins so there is nothing really special there. While I love the reversing arcs of Gordan and Bullock, Gordan does come off as a sap in this book who just gave up which bugs me but at the end he sees the light a bit. The book ends with a nice cliff hanger that teases Riddler as the next big foe. In the end, it’s definitely a good Bat story that delivers on the characters and meh on the story but well worth looking into. May the gaming gods bring you glory.