Dark Crisis Worlds Without a Justice League: Batman #1 – Simon Spurrier, Meghan Fitzmartin, Writers; Ryan Sook, Dan Jurgens/Norm Rapmund, Writers; Federico Blee, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Every one of these comics has depicted an ideal world for its hero—some more straight-forward than others. So what does an ideal world look like for the most unstable DC hero, Batman? This is a man who is never fully happy, always defined by his trauma. So it’s not a surprise that his world is a little more complicated than the rest. Simon Spurrier has always been a fan of creating complex new worlds in his creator-owned work, and this issue introduces us to a strange futuristic world of Gotham. This walled clockwork city is run by the kind, masked Mr. Wax and is a utopia during the day—but during the night it’s something very different. During the night it’s run by the murderous vigilante known only as the Night.
When Night murders the Penguin, Wax becomes determined to track him down—and it’s soon revealed that they’re the same man under the mask. This isn’t a big twist, as it’s really the only reveal that makes sense, but once we find out Alfred’s involvement in this it becomes a lot more interesting. What’s odd is that this seems to be the most unstable Batman we’ve ever seen, one whose sense of duality has spun into physically changing himself and has even harnessed the technology of his deadliest villains. It’s a fascinating Elseworlds, a creepy dystopian horror story that I could see being a great stand-alone universe, but it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing Pariah would create to keep Batman pacified.
The Zatanna backup, by Meghan Fitzmartin and Dan Jurgens, is a big change of pace as well. It casts Zatanna as a goddess, as she gains her wish to be in control and change the very face of the universe if she wants to. But is that what she wants…or is she simply seeking something much more human? A Constantine appearance jazzes things up, and a touching reveal at the end brings things home nicely, but this story does seem like it’s mostly about putting pieces of the puzzle into place for the final issue of the main event.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.