It’s annual week over at DC Comics which means two things: we’re going to get at least a couple of pointless money grabs, but some of them are going to be real gems. The annual is a great way for a writer to deliver a standalone story that couldn’t fit in the usual serial story going on each month. Batman: The Dark Knight gets its first annual today, is it good?
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011-) Annual #1 (DC Comics)
Artist Alex Maleev delivers the ONLY version of Batman you’ll see in this book on the cover. There are some glimpses at some horror show versions, but for the most part this is Mad Hatter, Penguin and Scarecrow’s story…and what a story it is! Taking place Halloween night, all three are duped into going to the Arkham Detention Facility for the Youth. Mad Hatter grew up in said facility, as well as Emperor Penguin if memory serves, which makes the locale a great place to spook the villains. You see the facility has been closed for some time which means we basically get a fun place similar to Arkham to play in, only it’s empty.
Szymon Kudranski sure knows how to draw Penguin in a disgusting fashion.
Gregg Hurwitz is on writer duty here and does a good job articulating each character. No one character shines brighter than another and all three get their own introspective look at their troubled childhoods. It’s interesting to see them all lined up together as it shows how weak Mad Hatter is in regards to the others. I don’t think I’ve seen a Batman story like this one before and while it’s more of a sandbox to play with the villains more than anything, it’s a fun little look at the villains.
Conan vs. a mummy…sign me up!
I use the word “little” very seriously, because there isn’t a whole lotta meat on this story. There’s an okay twist of an ending we all saw coming and the overall comic is nice, but not a must read by any means.
Which is one reason Hurwitz is a bit lucky he got such a moody and atmospheric artist as Szymon Kudranski. Every panel uses very realistic and spooky sort of lighting that goes really well with the Halloween setting. He also does a great job articulating how horrific these villains can look. If you do purchase this book I highly recommend reading it on the Comixology app panel by panel. Every panel is made much more important when you’re forced to see just how good Kudranski can be.
That’s pretty funny.
- Fantastic art tailor made for Halloween fans
- Original plot
- A light, okay story
This is a nice story with really no faults aside from it not going deep enough than its expected to. It’s a done-in-one annual that can be enjoyed by all and the art makes it a joy to read. Being an annual it’s a bit of a steep price for something that’s middle of the road as opposed to something remarkable however.
Is It Good?
As good if not better than most annuals these days.