Frank Tieri deserves quite a bit of praise! Out of all of the Evil Batman one-shots, there are two that I really enjoyed… And Tieri wrote both of them: Murder Machine and this chapter!

It’s no secret that I have felt indifferent towards Metal’s side stories. While the main title has been fun, the supporting stories have mostly been subpar. There have been stories with poor plots, motivations, and characterization, while some just failed to live up to expectation. This turnout, however, is quite the opposite, and well worth your money.

Rather than focus too heavily on this Bruce Wayne’s home planet, Tieri simply features an epic fight between Batman and Superman. And when I say epic, I mean epic! There’s a ton of context between the two characters during their battle, as well as a number of nods to other books and films.

The story itself mostly takes place on Earth 0, where Doomsday Batman seeks out Lois Lane. When you think of Doomsday, you most likely think of a powerful brute, but this Bruce Wayne is so much more. He’s not looking to cause any harm to Lois. Instead, he’s looking to talk. More than anything Bruce wants to explain his actions, and why he’s doing what he’s doing. This approach is unexpected, refreshing, and incredibly engaging and dynamic. With each page, the story creates more texture, becomes more dynamic, and is easily the most intriguing tie-in I’ve read. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read this issue yet, because this is an issue worth experiencing. DC, please give me more of this Bruce Wayne! And for the love of all things heroic, please give Tieri an ongoing title that features a flawed, morally ambiguous character!

The Art: Tony Daniel covers art for this issue, so you should already know that every single page looks beautiful. Daniel is an outstanding storyteller, and his technical ability outshines most artists in the industry today. He also taps into one of the aspects that makes this issue so successful: emotion. There’s a range of emotions in Tieri’s script and Daniel captures each one perfectly.

Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.

Spoiler

The Good:

Ties to Many DC Stories. There are nods and reflections to so many stories that any DC fan should be pleased. For one, the entire concept pulls from the Doomsday series DC attempted during the New 52. No, it doesn’t feature Doomsday, it features a kid who becomes infected with the Doomsday virus. In this instance, Bruce purposely infects himself with the Doomsday virus to stop the Superman of his world after he goes off the rails. Additional ties to Injustice and Batman v Superman also bring a nice touch to the issue (but this battle between Batman and Superman is WAY better than that mess Snyder presented). And to drive this story into current continuity, there are connections to Justice League of America, Titans, Supergirl, Superwoman, and Superman.

 

The Action. Action is peppered throughout the entire issue, but it’s hardly a comic that relies on action. Despite three separate fight scenes, they all feel different from one another. Because Tieri and Daniel understand that each fight contains a different purpose, they purposely play out and feature each fight differently.

Empathy, Anger, and Arrogance. Just as with Murder Machine, Tieri focuses on creating a believable motivation for this Bruce Wayne. This isn’t some power hungry maniac, this is a man who didn’t follow his instinct and it cost him. Now he’s driven to make sure that doesn’t happen again, even if it’s on a parallel earth. Deep down, this Batman believes he’s doing a terrible thing for a good cause. He honestly believes he needs to defeat the threat of Superman, to ensure the future of this earth. It’s a great approach, and completely unexpected considering this Batman is ultimately a version of Doomsday. But then that Doomsday drive comes into play in the form of anger, and one has to wonder how long this Batman can hold on to that humanity.

Lois and John. Lois delivers a heavy dose of emotion and intrigue in this chapter, and he’s subsequently become a major player in the overall Metal story as long has her development here isn’t ignored. Her life is her son, and her commitment if to protect him. But after contracting the Doomsday virus, she leaves him behind in a safe house.

 

The Bad:
There’s legitimately nothing bad here. If there’s something someone doesn’t like about this issue, it will most likely stem from subjectivity.

Recommended if:

  • You liked Batman: Murder Machine
  • You like villains with a sense of humanity.
  • Forget Batman v Superman, just read this issue.

Overall: Batman: The Devastator is the best evil Batman one-shot with the possible exception of Batman: Murder Machine. And if you’re keeping notes, both issues are written by Frank Tieri. There’s so much substance and characterization textured into this issue, but great plot and action keep the energy elevated. More than any other evil Batman – yes, even more than the Batman who Laughs – I want to explore this Bruce Wayne further. There’s so much depth and humanity packaged inside a brute force, that an endless number of stories could develop from him. Go get this issue!

SCORE: 9.5/10