Spawning from the pages of the Justice League, DC continues the story of the Darkseid War in a series of one shots. First on the list is the newly crowned God of Knowledge–Batman. Seated on the Möbius chair taken from Metron, Batman has returned to Gotham to be the hero the city deserves and needs. At least in his not so humble opinion.
Peter J. Tomasi takes the helm on the writing duties. I enjoy the way he writes Batman as a fierce guardian dedicated to his mission. It’s how he appeared in Batman and Robin, and in Tomasi’s Batman: Arkham Knight. In this issue, Tomasi plays with the topic of Batman’s resolve and his overall mission. How much of it is dedication versus downright obsession?
Batman undoubtedly helps the city with his constant pursuit of justice and swift punishment to those who try to bring destruction and malice to his city. Whether it’s his legend that brings hope to the hopeless, or making criminals eat through a straw for months, the Dark Knight shines light in a rather derelict city. Nonetheless, it’s still a very daunting task for one man to burden. That’s the beauty of having his allies’ help beside him. A group, a family that has adopted his philosophy and mission as their own. Together, the bring some type of normalcy to a city that most people wouldn’t dare step into. I mean, we hear about certain cities in America having high crime rates or being the murder capital, but honestly, what does Gotham have going for it that would make someone want to stay? Anyway, the thing that is different between Batman and his extended family is they’re not as obsessed as him. I won’t say that they’re less driven, because all of them have their valid reasons why they took on the capes and domino masks to follow the bat. It just doesn’t consume them the way it does Bruce.
It’s interesting to see how Bruce handles his newfound power. I can’t help but think of English historian, John Dalberg-Acton’s quote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. It seems the chair has amplified Bruce’s will to complete his mission. He flies around the city doing this Minority Report precog thing, arresting people before they even commit the crime. He calls it fracturing the criminal’s timeline. But here’s the cool, also sad thing about Batman. His mission doesn’t end. There will always be pain and sadness. It’s cool for us as readers because then there’s always Batman stories that we get to enjoy. It’s sad because this is Bruce’s life until he reaches the grave (unless he’s forced to early retirement by a head wound). You’ve seen how much of an old grumpy man he becomes in Batman Beyond, also his machine that’s been hinted at that creates numerous traumatized Bruce’s that make sure that the Batman legend lives on forever. The title Batman Forever has a darker meaning for me now.
Commissioner Gordon and Alfred provide the voices of reason for the overly driven Batman. Gordon from a “this is bad for business” perspective and Alfred from a “you need to watch your health” perspective. Gordon actually chastised Batman during their conversation as he can see that the chair is having a negative affect on Batman’s psyche. Blind to it all, or maybe distracted by it all, Batman cannot see the problem that is rising by his current behavior. Alfred tries to ask Bruce to think about his wellbeing only for it to fall on deaf ears. I’ve seen Bruce act this way before, as recent as the Hunt for Robin arc after Damian’s body was stolen. I guess Batman must go deep into the darkness before he can see the light.
Fernando Pasarin is the artist for the issue. I love his attention to detail in the characters’ facial expressions. He draws each person with stocky muscular bodies, but I think everything looks nice within the pages. Inker Matt Ryan and colorist Gabe Eltaeb do an outstanding job to ensure the detail in the surrounding backgrounds look amazing. There are various settings throughout the story but they never drop in quality. I’m excited to see how the art differs between each one shot.
- You want to see some of the ramifications of the Darkseid War
- You’re a fan of Peter J. Tomasi’s writing
- You want to see how far Bruce’s obsession reaches
While conversing with Batman, Commissioner Gordon brings up a good point. Batman is so set on being the most efficient version of himself that he can be with the help of that chair. He uses it to be preemptive in his fight against crime. Gordon asks him if that chair comes from a place where everything is peaceful and there is no more pain and suffering. The answer is no, but Batman is so delusional from the access that he has attained through the chair. Even the chair tries to fight against him. At the same time, the chair seems to thrive off of him. Batman’s really gone and got himself into a jam this time. One of the shocking elements of the story for me is Bruce’s selfishness. During his time as Batman, he always fought for the greater good. The mission was always bigger than him. In this issue, besides the small crimes that he prevented (in a very douche manner might I add), his objectives were rather personal. It’s strange to see him act in this way. It makes for great storytelling, but it’s a sore sight to see my hero in such a way. Excuse me while I go read Li’l Gotham to get my mind off of things for a while.
SCORE: 9.5 / 10