Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art and Cover: Lee Bermejo
This was sent to me by DC Comics under their new label, DC Black Label. This is obviously the darker and even more sinister side of the traditional Batman tales.
I thought this was amazing! Although I don’t have an extensive knowledge of the original Batman stories and comics, I still think this is going to be a great series.
First of all, the artwork is spectacular!!! I mean, really incredible talent here. Each panel is an amazing illustration of the core emotions involved in the story. The characters come to life in their darkest form, practically jumping off the page at you.
Although the story is well written and narrated to us by Constantine, I found it a little hard to follow. The flashes to other points in time are clear but appear somewhat random. Meanwhile, the story seemed to give a lot of important information and yet it still didn’t quite come together for me. I, personally, felt like it was mostly an introductory, as it’s titled Book 1. I also believe that if I was an actual Batman reader it would all have made more sense to me.
Still, I couldn’t help but read it all in one sitting and it was definitely a page turner. Batman has always been a tortured soul and it’s no different in this tale. Here, the Joker is dead. We see a killer image the deceased before we find out that it may or may not have been Batman that dispatched him with the snapping of his neck. Batman, though pleased with Joker’s demise I’m sure, cannot remember any part of what has taken place or if he was party to it. John Constantine is there to help him remember. Except, he’ll need to be careful. Constantine likes to play with people’s mind and dig into their psyche. Batman will need his help but, he’ll need to stay on guard in order to figure out what has happened and avoid being toyed with by Constantine.
I am very curious about Book 2. I think this is going to be a very good read for Batman fans. Anyone who likes the darker superhero kind of story will like this as well.
On a side note: There is a lot of hoopla about the fact the Batman’s penis is exposed in this graphic novel. Yes, it is. But, you can barely make out any detail, it’s more just the silhouette or general shape of it. So, I say to you, if you cannot handle what I have described, then you shouldn’t’ even get this graphic novel because if that offends you then the violence and blood will also offend you. For all of the mature people out there, you will feel like I do, that it’s just not something to get all in a tizzy about. Okay? Okay.