REVIEW: Batman: Damned (Book One)

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Back in the day, DC Comics used to really treat us readers to some special events that have since become outdated of sorts. Events like Invasion, The Dark Knight Returns and the Elseworlds titles. Stories and events that were set out of continuity of current story arcs. Stories that were made that were told over one to four books and span 40 to 50 pages. With 2016’s Rebirth initiative, DC is taking steps to return to their golden days.

Enter DC’s brand new line of comics set in this nostalgic style – Black Label. If you celebrated Batman Day, this past week you got a sneak peak at this new title. Joker creators, Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo, craft a new Batman tale in the start of this three issue run.


In the first issue of this series, Azzarello tells the tale of an injured Batman struggling after a bad night on duty. There’s alot of mystery within this first issue? More than just Batman too. The Joker winds up dead, John Constantine and Deadman pop up – through still remains unclear why. That’s the thing with this first entry – alot of set-up and development.
Every story needs it, I get it. There just seems to be no clear direction for this story yet. With characters like Constatine and Deadman, feels like this could be a book of somewhat big scales. Let’s be honest, both characters deal with paranormal circumstances – so nothing is typically small for these characters. I will say though that the delivery, itself, of the story is poetic in nature. It’s almost Shakespearean.

It’s only matched by Bermejo’s art. Talk about take your breath away. Art leaves a big impression on me as a comic fan but there are some styles that are ghosts to me. They haunt me, they stay with me. Alex Ross and Kingdom Come is a prime example. Damned’s art is on par with these ghosts. It grips you like the ghosts of Ebenezer Scrooge and never let’s you go. Balancing between paintings and realism, Bermejo will leave you with goosebumps.

Overall, Batman: Damned (Book One), leaves you with an intriguing story but more questions than answers. Returning to the heart of the prestige format stories, Batman ushers in a wave of fresh air. Azzarello is a Gotham City poet and leaves you wanting more. Bermejo crafts art for the book that will haunt your dreams as it balances museum art with the realism of life. Great start and interested to see where they go.


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