Written by James T Tynion IV, Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Eduardo Risso
Published by DC Comics
This all-star Batman team of Tynion, Snyder and Risso seeks to expand on the Dark Knight: Metal storyline with what would normally be an Elseworlds tale with The Batman Who Laughs: Grim Knight #1.
I say normally, because this is in line with the current continuity although our Batman in this story is from the darker dimensions, this Bruce Wayne achieved full Batman status but reacted to his parents death in a very different way, hence my Elseworlds comparison.
Coming in at 28 pages of Eduardo Risso drawing Batman by way of The Punisher is kick ass. The Batman of this story embraces the gun and the bat when he goes into training, after the defining murder of his parents. Young Bruce in the alley picks up Joe Chill’s gun after the Crime Alley double murder and quickly makes it a triple.
A few years later, after his fateful night as a veteran roaming the streets of Gotham has an effect on his future, while recovering in his study, a bat reveals itself and Bruce shoots it down while declaring, “Yes, Father, I shall become a bat”!
Other scenes from Batman: Year One are treated in a more violent way, with the gangster dinner turning into a fireball of carnage instead of a smoky warning. This Batman’s relationship with Gordon also has an inverse reflection from what we currently know. Here, Flass idolizes the violent Batman’s ideal, while Captain Jim plots to take the vigilante down.
No spoilers here except that perhaps it’s not easy to trap a murderous Batman that has been protecting the city as Judge, Jury and Executioner.
In this city, a disfigured Two-Face Harvey Dent is the Mayor and Batman has retired by force some of his major rogues like Penguin, Red Hood, Black Mask and Killer Croc.
This is the Punisher: War Zone (film) of Batman stories. Fully painted Risso artwork with a grim and gritty Batman and an Alfred like we’ve never seen before makes this an excellent addition to the Batman lore.
You won’t need to have context of Batman: Metal to enjoy this one, just strap in, get strapped and enjoy the ride!