It’s been 10 years since the last sighting of the Batman. Jim Gordon is retiring, Bruce Wayne is graying, the seedy underbelly of Gotham is thriving. As attacks by a group called the Mutants increase, and Batman’s old nemeses are released from Arkham, Bruce Wayne has to return to old habits… with new allies.
I’d been stalking this book for ages on Amazon before grabbing it up on a sale. This book is considered definitive, in the way it revamped Batman’s image from a campy caped superhero to a dark tortured soul fighting crime because it’s the only thing he knows to do. I haven’t read the comics before this, but I found the story of this one particularly interesting, especially its commentary on the times that rings true even today, such as the role of the media in glamorizing or demonizing a character, or the wishy-washyness of our elected leaders.
While the story was interesting, I didn’t really like the artwork. I think the pencilling was done by Frank Miller, and it’s slightly juvenile, unassured. The characters don’t look distinctive, and some of the scenes seem badly drawn. The Superman-Batman fight, so grossly misused in the recent Batman movie, was good, though, showing the clash of ideologies, of two heroes gone to dust for two different reasons. I think I’ll need a couple more re-reads though, to get all the themes and intricacies in the book.