BATMAN: DAMNED #1 review

Batman: Damned #1 art by Lee Bermejo

Batman: Damned #1 is written by Brian Azzarello with artwork by Lee Bermejo who also provides the cover.

You can pickup your copy of Batman: Damned #1 now where all good comics are sold!

Synopsis

DC BLACK LABEL, the highly anticipated new imprint from DC Comics, starts here!

The Joker is dead.

There is no doubt about that. But whether Batman finally snapped his scrawny neck or some other sinister force in Gotham City did the deed is still a mystery.Problem is, Batman can’t remember…and the more he digs into this labyrinthian case, the more his mind starts to doubt everything he’s uncovering.

So who better to set him straight than…John Constantine? Problem with that is as much as John loves a good mystery, he loves messing with people’s heads even more. So with John’s “help,” the pair will delve into the sordid underbelly of Gotham as they race toward the mind-blowing truth of who murdered The Joker.

BATMAN: DAMNED is a bimonthly super-natural horror story told by two of comics’ greatest modern creators—a visceral thrill-ride that proudly puts the “black” in BLACK LABEL.

Review

You’d be hard pressed to find somebody who isn’t aware of Batman: Damned at this stage. The comic has been long previewed at the back of DC Comics issues for the past few months and finally hit the shelves last week. Whilst many remember it for what has been dubbed as Bat-c**k by the internet there are plenty more reasons to enjoy this book.

Azzarello has taken the DC Black Label ideal and run with it to the extreme, crafting a story which truly deserves to be set outside normal continuity. The Joker is dead and Batman might the man to do the killing. Unfortunately for him he’s also wounded and has no recollection of events.

It’s a simple but incredibly effective story. We jump in as a wounded Batman is being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. It’s an unfamiliar setting as the weakened Batman is subject to a debate about whether his mask should be removed by paramedics. It’s a scene which serves to drive home that this is no ordinary book.

As the story continues to develop we discover our narrator is not Bats but in fact ally (for now at least) John Constantine.

Whilst there is a defined beginning, middle and end to this issue there’s not a lot which actually happens outside of setup for the ongoing story: the discovery of Joker’s body in the Gotham River and Batman’s memory loss. Its safe to say that you will be left wanting more after reading this issue but not in a what which will leave you disappointed.

Where Batman: Damned #1 really packs a punch is with Lee Bermejo’s artwork. From the cover to the first splash page right through to the final striking image on the last page this comic is a sight to behold.

It’s packed filled with usual imagery which will keep fans going back for more. Batman lying, helpless on the ambulance stretch, the Jokers washed up body and the statue of Jesus on the cross with the Joker-ised face all stand out.

I’m not often a fan of this inky, painted comic style but it really works here. We’re in a murky new version of Gotham thanks to DC Black Label and Bermejo’s artwork perfectly punctuates it. With Constantine in tow I’m hopeful we’ll get to explore a much darker side of this city as the story develops.

Verdict

Batman: Damned #1 may well be remembered for its controversy rather than its content. If you are able to put that aside this is an intriguing first issue which packs a serious punch with its visuals. The Black Label imprint adds a serious dose of the unknown to proceeding which makes it all the more exciting.

8/10

Batman: Damned #1 cover by Lee Bermejo


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About Neil Vagg 1975 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG