Batman Annual #3 is written by Tom Taylor with artwork by Otto Schmidt and a cover by Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair.
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“THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PENNY!” Alfred Pennyworth has been Batman’s most trusted ally and confidant since the Dark Knight first hit the streets of Gotham City. Now, witness Batman’s battle for justice from Alfred’s perspective and learn how harrowing that journey has been as Batman experiences one of the worst nights Gotham City has ever seen—a night that will push Alfred to the breaking point! Best-selling writer Tom Taylor presents an epic tale that promises to be one of the most emotional Alfred stories ever told!
Annuals are an interesting animal. Sometimes they serve as a contextual extension of stories in the main book. Other times they stand entirely on their own albeit sometimes unsuccessfully.
Batman Annual #3 sits firmly in the standalone column. But is it successful as a story? It sure is!
“The Otherside of the Penny!” is a simple but incredibly impactful story. I can’t think of another comic in history which has told the story of this particular moment. The moment when Alfred takes the call to say that The Waynes have been murdered.
It’s such a brief moment in time but one which really reflects on Alfred as a character. As he rushes to get to Bruce his inner monologue describes how he wasn’t going to stay with the Wayne family forever. But in that moment his like, much like the titular penny, is entirely flipped.
What follows is low key story of the relationship between Alfred and Bruce. There is some insight in to that first night in Wayne Manor after Bruce returns with Alfred. Those moments are contrasted against the night Batman faces off against The Drone.
There’s still some action to enjoy in this issue. But it’s entirely outshone by the relationship between the two characters. The book is at its best when focussing on Alfred and the impact Bruce’s mission as Batman has on him.
Seeing him rush to the adult Bruce’s side, the same as he did when Bruce was a child, is like a punch in the gut. To then bring in Leslie Thompkins as a voice of reason in the situation is brilliant. Leslie balances out the two characters and gives the story a final push towards its conclusion.
I won’t spoil the final pages but they are some of the most meaningful in Batman’s history. In the harsh light of day seeing Bruce and Alfred in this manner is nothing short of joyful.
I defy anyone to read the last page and now have a tear in their eye.
Batman Annual #3 is an emotional read. It takes a look at the Alfred Pennyworth character from an interesting and fresh angle. Without completely ejecting the action which brings fans enjoy it is able to tell a small, impactful story which brings light to a very dark world.