What is this all about?
In this issue, emotions run high as Cyborg is under attack by a friend turned enemy. Connections between Batman and Cyborg are developed through the creation of an AI program. Plans go awry and lives are in jeopardy. The story will engage the reader in an epic conflict as familial ties pull characters together and rip them apart.
The story begins on Earth 0, in the present. There has been extensive damage all over the globe and the Justice League hasn’t intervened. Cyborg is in the Watchtower surveying damage inflicted on Gotham. The story occurs after Metal 2, Batman has been affected by Batmantium, and dark forces are invading earth. Cyborg is talking to his father, who is at S.T.A.R. Labs. The tension is palpable due to the chaos happening on earth. Cyborg demands that his father will be safe by staying away from him. Dad insists on providing Victor with the intel that Victor does not have because the rest of the Justice League is not there to help. The father-son sequence is a foreshadowing of a larger storyline and serves to set the tone for the book. Victor is relieved and noticeably excited when Batman arrives at the Watchtower. However, as a reader I was skeptical. Batman was inflicted by the Nth Metal in previous books and even without that, he’s a wildcard.
The story transitions to The Dark Multiverse, months ago. Bruce Wayne is watching video footage while Clark and Diana caution him to discontinue this unwise behavior. Tension is in the air. Bruce is devastated by the (spoiler) death of Alfred. The videos show Alfred being beaten by Gator and Bane with Harley Quinn watching. As the story progresses, we see Bruce requesting Victor to help him complete the “Alfred-protocol”, an AI program designed to represent all the things that Alfred did for Batman.
Bruce explains to Victor that Alfred is his father and represents the most meaningful person in his life. Bruce wants to capture Alfred’s memories and presence so that he won’t forget him. The theme of Alfred as father to Batman and the AI representation of Alfred play a major role in the story. The Alfred protocol Cyborg helps create goes “rogue” and murders everyone who is a threat to Batman. For example, computer generated figures murder all the inmates in Arkham Asylum including Bane. The revelation of the Alfred-Protocol and how that connects to Cyborg begin to take shape.
The story transitions back to Earth 0, the present. Batman’s intentions and capacities are revealed in the next sequence. He goes on the attack blasting away at Cyborg. We learn that Batman has AI capacities as we witness him plugging electrodes from his suit into Cyborg’s computer system. Cyborg fights but is way over-matched. Batman reminds Cyborg of how important it was for him that Cyborg completed the Alfred protocol, which represents his father, now that Alfred is dead. Back at Star Labs, Victor’s father is listening to the brutal attack and begging for Batman to spare Vic’s life. The emotional tone of the middle and end of the book is primal as Cyborg is fighting for his life for most of this section.
A final twist at the end brings an amazing conclusion to an exciting book. Cyborg is stepped on by a large creature. It’s unclear who exactly this is at first. However, as the story quickly progresses, we see the members of the Dark Multiverse, which were revealed in Metal 2, appear! Connections are not made between The Joker and these characters; however, their appearance resembles The Joker in the mouth area. The story is amazing as it weaves from one dimension to another pulling the Father-Son theme throughout. The art is gorgeous. I am excited to learn where this story goes after this amazing installment!
10 / 10
Reviewed by Tom Zimm Batman The Murder Machine Written by Frank Tieri & James Tynion IV Art by: Riccardo Federici; Colors by, Rain Beredo; Letters by, Tom Napolitano Published by DC Release Date: 9/27/2017