Bruce has officially started his world tour to find out just who he wants to be, and begun learning the skills required to make him Batman. This month his journey takes him deeper into the mystery of The Foundling and a few steps closer to becoming the Batman we know and love.
I’m covering Batman: The Knight for Cam this month, and I’m so glad I got the chance to do so. I wasn’t quite sure what to think about a whole miniseries focused on Bruce’s early training when it was first announced, but three issues in I’m totally and completely sold. Zdarsky has so far crafted an engaging story focused on a young Bruce who is desperately searching for his identity, but at the same time embodies all the pieces he needs to become his future self.
This issue furthers that journey by officially introducing Bruce to Henri Ducard. Ducard is a hugely influential character in Bruce’s history being a key player in his Batman training, and I’m excited by this initial meeting. After introducing some plot centered around The Foundling, Zdarsky jumps right back to where issue #2 left off by having Ducard announce that he’s followed Bruce because he thinks they’re killers, but because he’s been hired by Alfred to find his wayward ward. Despite a rocky start, Bruce quickly latches onto Ducard as someone he wants to learn from. He doesn’t say that out loud as much as he insists on tagging along with Ducard’s investigation, and by focusing on just what Ducard’s saying. You can tell right away that he’s going to stubborn his way into learning from Ducard no matter what, because he needs those skills to further his quest.
That’s the other big thing I want to talk about here, which is Bruce’s characterization. I love that Zdarsky keeps showing him as this lost kid who is desperately searching for a way to save other people from being hurt the way he is. But not only that, he’s angry and doesn’t know what to do with all that anger. It feels just right for him at this point in his life. He hasn’t found a way to control that anger, hasn’t found the exact vision for what he should be, all he knows is that he doesn’t want other families to be torn apart like his was. And that’s highlighted here as he has to face off against The Foundling, a villain creating the exact scenario Bruce is trying to prevent. One could argue that the serial killer is a little on the nose as a symbol, but I don’t mind it because of how we see Bruce himself react. It’s violent and over the top, and a reflection of the chaos he’s still struggling with and the fury bubbling below his surface. At the same time, he always always reacts in a way that is protective to those in need. Even blinded by fury, it’s because of those hurt not anything else.
We also get to see his detective skills start to develop further. Bruce is obviously very new at tailing someone, and in one scene reacts badly to it. At the same time he starts to piece together the intentions of The Foundling, gets into the man’s head, first under Ducard’s instruction then on his own. I just honestly love seeing him learn, take on skills, and then utilize them and that’s something this series excels at.
Carmine Di Giandomeico’s art fits the tone of this book really well. Overall, I love how he’s really captured the feeling of the city and buildings the characters are in. It’s also dynamic, one of my favorite moments features Bruce diving through a window from his jump to the crash there’s so much movement and action. Plus there’s this gorgeous shadow on the wall as Bruce first dives down, that’s reflective of what he makes as Batman and I just adore that so much since this is the first real moment we see him rushing off to save someone like this.
Ivan Plascencia’s colors are also beautiful here. They’re vibrant, and he has a specific pallet for Bruce’s scenes compared to those focused on the killer, and even moments where everything collides. I especially love the way he uses light to highlight character expressions. Take the first page with Ducard for instance, the sun’s shining in from a window and shining a light on Ducard and Bruce’s faces, particularly their eyes. It draws a reader in to really lock on to how focused both men are. Then you’ve got Bruce’s shock highlighted by how his face is thrust into shadow learning that Alfred sent Ducard after him. It’s gorgeous work.
The issue wraps up the Foundling arc in a way that feels tight and concise, but also opens Bruce up for the next leg of his journey both learning to be a detective and in finding himself. I’m genuinely excited to see where the rest of this series goes from here.
- Dives into a character’s history are something you like to read
- You love a competent character who still needs to grow
- Well written, character focused narratives are your thing
This issue of Batman: The Knight does a great job wrapping up its first arc and further exploring Bruce’s own personal journey. We’re properly introduced to Henri Ducard as a character, and the beginnings of his relationship with Bruce. At the same time, it further explores Bruce’s own conflict over trying to fulfill his promise to his parents, pitting him against a killer and forcing him to start learning more about the criminals he hopes to stop one day. Overall it’s a well balanced, tightly written, exploration of Bruce’s journey towards Batman and I cannot recommend it enough.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.