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COMIC REVIEW: ‘Batman: The Dark Knight’ #23.1 The Ventriloquist

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‘Batman: The Dark Knight’ #23.1 The Ventriloquist
‘Batman: The Dark Knight’ #23.1 The Ventriloquist

‘Batman: The Dark Knight’ #23.1 The Ventriloquist

  • Cover by Patrick Gleason
  • Written by Gail Simone
  • Pencils by Derliz Santracruz
  • Inks by Karl Kesel
  • Coloured by Brett Smith

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BEWARE OF SPOILERS

I was definitely hesitant to the idea of changing The Ventriloquist from the Arnold Wesker incarnation to this new Shauna Belzer version but when handled by Gail Simone in the pages of ‘Batgirl’ it unsurprisingly turned out well and has added a truly terrifying psychotic serial killer angle to the character that is a massive departure to the villain I have come to know over the years.

Here Belzer is making the most of the missing heroes and has setup show in an abandoned theatre in Gotham using food and power to attract those searching for a safe heaven from the violence before subjecting them to her very own brand of freak show.

The psychotic nature of the character is brilliant. Much of this issue is narrated as if she is giving an interview before her big show and it really helps to play up her unstable nature. There’s also the usual interplay between puppet and puppeteer which we’ve come to expect in any story featuring this character and perhaps its just the renewed vigour that Simone has breathed in to the character but I find Shauna all the more creepy and terrifying.

Glimpses of her backstory were given during her appearance in ‘Batgirl’ but are fleshed out here to show the true awkwardness of her childhood. the relationship with her brother is what is shown here as the key figure in her downfall but I just couldn’t predict the twisted nature of her personality.

The artwork is equally creepy when required and there’s the usual derivative sepia nature to the flashbacks but it’s a tried and tested method that works. Shauna herself takes on a Samara like quality from ‘The Ring’ with the hair over her face for added creepiness.

The ending is pretty twisted, perhaps predictable but who cares in an issue this good.

9/10

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