America doesn’t have the most liberal approach to recreational drug use, but when it comes to pharmaceuticals there may not be another country as addicted. Which is precisely why writer Gregg Hurwitz’s take on the New 52 Mad Hatter is kind of genius. Last issue kicked up his new origin a notch and this issue delivers the crowning blow to cap off the character. That isn’t to say it’s the greatest issue though does it? It’s times like these where I ask myself, is it good?
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011-) #18 (DC Comics)
It was revealed in the last issue the Mad Hatter had a crush on a girl while growing up. They visited an Alice in Wonderland theme park and that was that. The reader just knew something bad was going to happen, but we were as of yet not privy to said information. Until now. Hurwitz continues to develop Bruce’s love life on the side, but really we’re all here for the Mad Hatter. This issue reveals Hatter had a testosterone problem growing up and had the choice to take some cutting edge, but dangerous drugs to circumvent his issue. Yeah…one of the dangers is side effects related to mental stability. This can’t end well.
Wow, valid points from a guy named Dee.
Though Hurwitz’s style is a bit quirky when it comes to pacing I’m really loving how he incorporates character tinges. The one above is a great example. At the end of the day this is a typical Batman comic where he fights the bad guys, but Hurwitz has infused character moments and reflections that are honest-to-goodness good points. It brings the reality of the situation to the forefront which helps ground the story. Something that’s nearly never done these days with cosmic characters and flying gods at every turn.
That’s a pretty cool connection.
Slutty Catwoman makes an appearance in this issue.
There are a couple moments that ring with a bit of falsity and will bring you out of the comic. One is how clunky Batman operates. He gets brained by Mad Hatter because, get this, he sneaks up on him. What is this, the 50’s? He also decides to…well I won’t ruin it, but we’ve seen this choice a hundred times and it never ends well. Maybe this New 52 Bruce Wayne hasn’t lost as many girlfriends as the previous version.
The other issue is Mad Hatter’s parents during his flashback sequences. They are portrayed as loving parents, and yet every parental figure in this comic either passes off the hard choice to a child or ignores the real issues. Maybe I’m reading too deeply into it, but it doesn’t seem logical, unless there’s something else going Hurwitz isn’t telling us.
Artist Ethan Van Sciver continues to do an impressive job, although I sure wish he drew more tech in this issue. The flashbacks are composed well and add to the psychological trauma Mad Hatter is going through.
That’s not how you use an iron!
- Composition on every page is strong
- Interesting connections made between Hatter and Batman
- You can’t sneak up on Batman!
- Guns don’t kill people, bad parenting kills people!
The truth is finally being revealed as to why Mad Hatter is not only super strong but super mental. It’s a clever take on the character, partly because of the pharmaceuticals-as-villain aspect to it. It’s also neat to think Hatter uses different teas to boost his powers.
Is It Good?
Yes. Hatter finally has a back story worthy of the rogues gallery.