BATMAN DAMNED 1: bloody good mystery launches DC Black Label in a vivid horror-noir style spawned from writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo.
Who killed the ghastly corpse that is retrieved and found to be the Joker?
Who mortally wounded Batman? And why can’t he remember what happened?
BATMAN DAMNED 1: there is a buzz with this book!
The art by Bermejo is masterful in the bleak view of Gotham and the Dark Knight and the hyper-action sequences that flow and dance off the page, like a great swordfight.
The world, from gambling on dark street corners to bashing medical staff for an escape route, is very much alive.
And just look at Bermejo’s BATMAN DAMNED 1 cover!
I thought Jim Lee and Alex Sinclair’s pentagram-backed caped crusader, and a lot of emphasis on a particularly badass-looking cape, was stunning (and it is).
But then I saw the steam coming off of the battered cowl in Bermejo’s Batman, and I realized the lunatic-like bloody expression beneath that cowl was worn and scraped, and either grimacing or . . . smiling!
Was Batman smiling like the Joker?
The depiction of a militarized Batman by Bermejo is iconic.
The Rambo-like Bat Belt and its dangling straps with rings for hooking weapons and tech to the beaten leather-like material and the many buckles on the worn army boots give a fierce edge to the amnesiac Batman.
And the talented scribe Azzarello crafts an ingenious and twisted tale of mystery, horror, and Bat-lore that shoots from page to page, impact to impact, whether it is physical blows, or mental, or emotional ones.
His Batman has to deal with a supernatural influence, a hole in his memory, and the detective case of a lifetime.
But there are also the wrinkles and the deeply hidden crevices in the world where metaphors for Satanism and Christianity, for the Gothic towering over Gotham and the strange creatures crouching in Bruce Wayne’s past and present shadows.
The DC Black Label launch title BATMAN DAMNED 1 is incredibly enticing for the adult comic book reader with a dark side.
The oversized format is incredible to behold in and of itself.
BATMAN DAMNED 1 is ad free and chock full of gorgeously detailed and gritty oversized pages.
This book should not be approached by the faint of heart or the Puritanical among us.
Get yours from your LCS – Red Shirt Comics got me – before they are gone forever!
“BATMAN DAMNED 1: Bloody Good Mystery Launches DC Black Label” was written by R.J. Huneke