BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #14
Author: John Bierly
Monday, March 31, 2008
FROM DC COMICS: "The secret of the Wrath's return is revealed as he demonstrates just how much he knows about Bruce Wayne's life — and his parents' deaths!"
And from the top, I like it.
When the first issue of this fun-so-far ended, a disguised Batman was getting hurt to hand over some hurt to the Wrath, a cop-killing villain in Dark Knight-style threads who'd long been thought dead.
But the fight isn't as easy as Batman might have hoped. I like how the Wrath's got the guts to taunt Batman, and he's the rare adversary who not only talks the talk but also walks the walk. He anticipates, understands and counteracts every one of Batman's moves.
But Junior's not the only bright guy on the block. Batman knows this isn't the original Wrath. He also knows that, whoever this guy is, he's better than the man he's copy-catting.
The Wrath wants to kill Batman, but decides instead to leave him with a devastating clue about the real reasons why the original Wrath wanted Jim Gordon dead. And the date he gives for Gordon's alleged indiscretion just happens to be the night that Bruce Wayne's parents were gunned down.
In a spectacular display of bad-ass, the Wrath pulls a ninja disappearing act that seems to work until Batman turns the tables and seemingly materializes out of the light and smoke, still demanding answers because he thinks the Wrath might know the truth about what happened to him that fateful night.
The crafty Wrath escapes and he, too, is confused because he thinks Batman might know something about what that night meant to Gordon.
The following pages are fun and exciting as the Wrath evades Batman, almost gets trapped by Nightwing and still manages to get the upper hand on him, too. Whoever this guy is, he's making shorter work of the Bat Family than even his predecessor did. And in the Wrath's narration, we get a tantalizing clue: What does the former Boy Wonder have to do with the new Wrath's creation?
The next couple of pages bother me a bit, as Batman visits Jim Gordon and angrily demands to be told what happened all those years ago on the night of June 26. I realize Batman's upset about his parents, but come on. That's still no excuse to get angry with Gordon and manhandle him all over the office, especially given how much help Gordon's given him. I just don't buy it that Batman would get that rough with Gordon. And of course he's holding Gordon roughly when the cops bust in, which looks bad.
They shoot. Batman escapes. Gordon tells the cops to let him go not for Batman's safety, but for theirs. We've heard that before.
And then we get to something that you're either going to love or hate: The notion that Gordon comforted little Bruce Wayne at the police station on the night of his parents' murder, which was first introduced in BATMAN BEGINS, becomes immortalized in the pages of a Batman comic book as fact.
I personally have no problem with it, because I loved it in BEGINS and I love that it's a part of the new movie universe.
But what does that do to the established comics continuity that Gordon came to Gotham from Chicago about the same time Bruce Wayne was coming home from his training?
We'll talk more about this in the review for next issue, where we get some answers about how Bedard is trying to handle this.
And we end with the new Wrath mistreating the original Wrath's lover, Grayle Hudson, and reinforcing his previous clue about who he really is and how his existence ties in to Batman and Robin.
I loved the opening fight. Didn't like the Batman/Gordon scene. I found it interesting that Bedard brought the whole "Gordon comforts Bruce on the night of his parents' murder" thing into the comics and, like I said, we'll talk more about that in the review for next issue.
For now, this crossover is off to a pretty solid start.
His favorite things in life are family and friends, concerts, burgers, Mountain Dew, his amazing girlfriend Chelsea and, of course...
You can read his blog at JOHNBIERLY.COM.