Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Lee Bermejo
Batman Damned is the first book to be featured in DC Comics new Black Label series of comics which serve as a more adult, mostly non canon set of elseworld stories, that will allow DC Comic’s top artists and writers to more freely write and express their stories without affecting the overall canon stories of a given character. It allows them to create more adult themed stories, which I’m personally a big fan of the idea.
The first thing that drew me into this series was the beyond amazing and super gorgeous artwork by artist Lee Bermejo, featured throughout this book, the attention to detail is so incredible and the dark, gothic aesthetic was an excellent choose and quite fitting for the tone of the story. This book was so beautiful I probably stared at it for over an hour before I even got to reading the story that went with it, the oil paint art style was just that good, I’d have to say it’s the best looking book I’ve seen come out all year, and that really means something when you consider all the amazing books that have come out this very artistically rich year.
I was surprised to discover that one of my favorite parts of Batman Damned, was the presentation style of the narration text, that was beautifully placed in just the right spots. I don’t really know what it was but there was something about it that just helped make this book feel special to me, and it never interfered with the artwork, it seemed to compliment the art in just the right way. I think it’s also safe to say that whenever John Constantine is the narrator of the story you’re going to enjoy the way in which he speaks. I really feel like Brian Azzarello has a great ability to make Constantine’s dialogue flow in a way that felt very true to character, so much so that I found myself reading his parts through the voice of Constantine himself, and I’m not talking Keanu Reeves, I’m talking Matt Ryan.
The story itself is full of plenty of questions and mystery that will leave you with a sense of wanting to learn more about what’s going on, to dig deeper and to learn who killed the Joker, that’s right the Joker is dead and Batman was on the same bridge the night that it happened, but he can’t remember, so with the help of John Constantine and even Deadman, Batman goes out into the night looking for answers. I don’t want to spoil too much for you, as I feel like this is a mystery best solved by reading through the gorgeous 48 pages of this well crafted masterpiece.
I will say that Writer Brian Azzarello has really done an excellent job at putting together this dark story that delves into Bruce’s childhood and plants seeds that may reveal that Bruce’s destiny to become the bat started long before that fateful night in Crime Alley, and I’m interested to see how that may connect with the present day story at hand in this book.
Overall I can’t say enough about how much I loved just looking at this book, there are several pages and panel’s that are so breathtaking with detail that I desire to make posters out of these pieces of art to hang on my wall at home, the artwork is just that good. I’d say it’s the best looking book I’ve read all year hands down. John Constantine is the perfect unreliable narrator for this story and it was nice to read a book that’s told to you from a narrator’s perspective, with enough action and character interaction that kept the story moving at great pace, and a mystery that feels worth exploring.
I give Batman Damned a 10 out of 10
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