*blows off the dust off of this column*
It’s been a while since I’ve read an awful movie or comic. But hey, that’s 2020 for ya on avoiding one of these. Sadly, I cannot avoid the latter. I wish I could, but see when the secondary story in this has a Duke Thomas story that features three characters I love. I’m gonna buy the comic regardless of what the main story is gonna have.
Okay, I do have somewhat regrets. If there’s one big problem I’ve had with this event it’s the Batman Who Keks, and how he’s LONG overstayed his welcome. Likewise, the other new character introduced in this event, Robin King.
You know me, I love a good villain. One you can’t help but secretly enjoy them do their mojo. But when you have an oversaturation of one story element, it just becomes a broken record that keeps getting broken more. So much so I kinda just want to get stabby with the shards at this point to my eyes.
A good villain is at their best when they’re shown to have flaws of their own. I forget how many tie-ins to this event I’ve read, but each time in this series we get a moment where it seems finally a flaw. Instead, it’s always according to the plan or keikaku.
Now preptime has been a Batman mainstay, but it went into overdrive in the late 90s with Justice League: Tower of Babel story and hasn’t looked back since. We’ve gotten Batman owning New Gods, devils, villains who have their own keikaku, but are amateurs to the keikaku master, and other dimensional beings out of his league because Batman’s keikaku is just so damn strong.
I know it’s a taste of the readers and heroes getting this same medicine. At this point it just makes me want to bash my head into a table because it’s all we had of this character type for what feels like three years now. Now we have it again with this Robin King, who’s entire utility belt is a keikaku instant win as pointed out early in this issue.
It also doesn’t help if you followed our “protagonist” earlier in this event in his origins, just makes you groan as he defeats DC heavy hitters, kills off B/C list heroes graphically (but it’ll be okay we got a universe reset coming soon and it wouldn’t be a DC event if Ted Kord gets violently killed off), and D list heroes too (poor Von Hammer and Steve Savage).
Even when the series adds a new “layer” in how the Batman Who Lulz tricked the Robin King and out preptimes him. I really have zero sympathy for the character when he brutally kills DC Heroes.
There is an idea within this main story that fascinates me is how the Batman Who Snickers recruits his Dark Multiverse Batmen and creates his Robin Goblins. It’s these stories I would have loved to know more of as we see the ringer each of these over universe Batmen (and there’s a girl too. Makes me wonder too). Just seems like a better one-shot of a story than what we got here.
If there’s any other positive I can say is I love the art style of Riley Rossmo. There’s a dark toon like style to the art that I just enjoy. Like a truly trippy dark Looney Tunes vibe. It helps a tiny bit when thinking in this approach, but yeah it overstays its welcome because you just want some victory to be had by the heroes at this point that counts.
So yeah, the secondary story by Tony Patrick and art by Daniel Sampere is the true all-star here. It does a good job showing off a new Dark Multiverse Batman taking on the Signal, Orphan, Spoiler, and Red Robin (probably the only flaw since Tim is Robin again in the mainline and Cassandra should be in her Batgirl costume).
That story does a better job with a street hero from Gotham (Duke Thomas) having to fight in a war that’s beyond what he’s used too, along with fighting a dark doppelganger Batman with a unique origin that ties in with Duke’s. If there’s one thing that I enjoy is these dark takes allowing for some great dark twist origins.
This is something that I can enjoy because Patrick truly makes you root for Duke and his Bat Family comrades here facing odds so stacked against them. Yet, they endure. They keep fighting because that’s what they do. It’s this story that is really the true reason to buy the issue, and not the main. Along with adding a fascinating Dark Batman in Quietus.
So yeah, buy this story if only for the secondary and the dark toony art. If your looking for edge this comic will give it to you in buckets. You’ll have to excuse me now. I need a drink to bury the memories within the corners of my mind with what happens to Animal Man in the main story.
A big drink to kill the brain cells that read this main story. UGH!