Writer – Brian Azzarello
Artist – Lee Bermejo
Publisher – DC Black Label
Batman:Damned is the first series in the new Black Label line for DC comics. The Black Label line is intended for mature readers and is non continuity, much like most of the stories in the Elseworlds imprint were, which ran from 1989-2003. I like this for the fact that it gives the creators of these stories free reign to explore the characters in very unique ways.
What the first book perfectly does is set the tone for series. The Joker is dead and Batman is missing several hours of his memory. John Constantine shows up and rescues a seriously injured Batman. At first, it seems like Batman might or might not be involved in the murder. Not only is Constantine helping Batman but Deadman is also, and how much can Batman trust Constantine?
And things start to get weird. There is definitely something supernatural going on here. There may be something very sinister working against Batman.
Azzarello’s concept of Deadman is pretty damn cool, the individuals get violently ill when he possess them forcing him to jump from body to body.
Zatanna Zatara gets into the mix as Batman is looking for answers, and is the Joker truly dead?
Azzarello also explores Batman’s childhood in a number of flashbacks and he doesn’t paint a very good picture of the relationship between Bruce’s parents.
And how is the Enchantress involved in all of this?
I was sold on this book just for the fact that they were pairing Batman with John Constantine. Azzarello’s story does start slowly but the story elements he presents are intriguing. This is a very dark, creepy, and promising read.
Bermejo’s art is spectacular. His Deadman design is so badass. Deadman’s signature red acrobatic unitard has been replaced by muscle and sinew. Bermejo’s attention to detail from creases on the characters faces and on the characters clothing is jaw dropping. You feel the eerie creepiness of the city, of Bruce’s visitations, of a world just slightly out of kilter.
Rating: 9 Bruce Wangs out of 10