The Mad Hatter is a terrorist of a different order. The main purpose of terrorism is to coerce change through psychological manipulation of fear, but what if that coercion is a side effect and not the intention? It seems the New 52 Mad Hatter’s intentions are selfish, but not necessarily meant to harm anyone intentionally. It’s not his fault nobody can get his plan, right?! In this issue we learn what his plan is, how he became the Mad Hatter and the psychological toll he’ll take on Gotham. Can this terrorist story ring true, and is it good?
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011-) #19 (DC Comics)
Writer Gregg Hurwitz has slowly revealed why the Mad Hatter is just so mad over the course of the last three or so issues. Although last issue allowed the reader to infer why, this issue confirms it, flashing back to his childhood when drugs he took to make him grow gave him intense anger issues as a side effect. Oh, and loss of hair.
Finally an explanation for the hat! <-Sarcasm
So far the new backstory is a good one, although it’s a little silly how Hurwitz seems compelled to explain every single detail of the character. When we find out he wears a tophat due to hair loss from the drugs that made him mad you have to wonder, “couldn’t he just like hats?” We already learned he had a relative that was a hatter. Oh well, maybe some people find this cool.
Like some kind of insane leprechaun.
Anyone looking for a Batman appearance will be sorely disappointed. There is a development between Bruce and his new pianist girlfriend, but Batman only appears to discuss some missing bodies with Jim Gordon.
That said, the issue isn’t all that bad, instead focusing entirely on Mad Hatter, his current plot comes into focus and it’s all made incredibly creepy due to the art by Szymon Kudranski. I literally did a few double takes while reading this issue simply because the art was so horrific. The deep shadows and the creepy lighting really make this issue into a horror comic. Previous issues drawn by Ethan Van Sciver definitely laid on the crazy sauce, but they can’t compare to the unnerving imagery in this issue.
I wonder if parents who give their kids Adderall fear their children will turn out like this.
Though I’m not entirely sold on Batman’s love story, I have to give the team props for the page below. Bruce can’t seem to stop himself from being overprotective of his girlfriend, right down to listening to every single heartbeat. It could have played creepy, but I got the impression it was tragic here. Bruce will never find love because he can’t be normal.
This is love!
- Creeptastic art
- Mad Hatter’s plan is finally revealed and it’s a disturbing one
- Not enough Batman
- Not sold on Batman’s love story
Unfortunately for this story if you came in blind you might find it a little cheap. All the setup in the previous issues is necessary for the emotional resonance to bleed through, at least when it comes to Mad Hatter’s backstory. I also don’t believe in this Bruce Wayne love story, however tragic it is.
Is It Good?
Yes. This will be a tight read for the collected edition.