Cover & Art by Alex Maleev
Written by Gregg Hurwitz
Colours by Dave McCaig
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!
‘The Dark Knight’ as a title has a bit of a chequered past having launched in January 2011 delays meant that the second issue was released roughly four months later, issue three arrived three months after this and only then did it manage to release issues in concurrent months.
The title was brought about in order to re-introduce Bruce Wayne to the character of Batman after ‘The Road Home’ arc which saw him essentially return from the dead. The original concept was to keep the series based in more noir, supernatural stories.
Over the past two years the title has stuck to darker subject matter, the recent Mad Hatter arc has proven that the writers working on this title aren’t afraid to shy away from mass murder, but it is often also a title where the writers experiment with potential story ideas which are more outside the box… White Rabbit anybody?
What ‘The Dark Knight’ does do well is focus heavily on the darker side of its characters. This month the focus is on Commissioner Gordon. He moved to the forefront after the time jump in issue #21 calling on Batman at a time when Alfred was hoping that Bruce would give up the cowl. To a lesser extent Clayface plays a part on this story and moves to the forefront for issue #23.
There’s a certain amount of subterfuge in this months issue but Gordon is the focus on both sides of the twist and it’s important to know that this title doesn’t do subterfuge for the pure shock value.
Hurwitz is spinning another origin tale which kicks off here but what’s great about it is that it doesn’t feel like an origin. I found myself completely wrapped up in the Gordon story to consider that I’m seeing another of Batman’s first encounters.
Maleev brings the visual noir that has been missing from this title for so long. This issue is a perfect example of the kind of gritty urban art that a modern Bat-book should be displaying and hopefully that will continue throughout Maleev’s run.
In a time when Batman is spread across so many titles (Detective Comics, Batman, Batman Inc., The Dark Knight to name but a few) it’s vital that each have its own unique selling point and considering the title and the premise ‘The Dark Knight’ should be amazing us each month with its exploration of the extreme dark side of Gotham.
‘The Dark Knight’ is not the kind of series that I would recommend you go back and pick-up from the start, a huge amount of criticism was heaped on the Mad Hatter arc for turning up the creepy dial too far but actually if you are looking for disturbing character piece its well worth reading.
If brilliant noir artwork and a complex, character driven story is what you’re after then it is well worth starting to read ‘TDK’ with issue #22.
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