Wrath, the popular foil to Batman that appeared in Batman Special #1 (1984) is back and this time he’s going last longer than a one-shot. The character is notorious for having the same background as Batman, only cops killed his parents, so he has waged a war on all cops much like Bats has waged war on criminals. His decree comes complete with gadgets and a costume too. Can DC Comics make the character worthy of multiple issues, and more importantly, is it good?
Detective Comics (2011-) #22 (DC Comics)
There are a couple different ways you can tell a Batman story but for the most part writers take the supervillain approach. Another way is to bring the action to the streets. Those stories tend to feel more human and are less bombastic. Now, what if someone were to combine them? That seems to be what writer John Layman is doing here. Someone is killing cops and he’s being identified as Batman. On top of that, a man with massive wealth has propositioned Bruce Wayne to buy Wayne Corp and plans to build out his weapons manufacturing. Hmm, I wonder if those two associates are the same person?
Wrath is looking very much like an Iron Man version of Batman.
This is a successful combo of street and supervillain, largely because artist Jason Fabok keeps the action on the ground level. There’s a lot of dark shadows, rain and dank locations to make the world felt. So often bright colors and a glossing over of backgrounds is done, but here you can feel the world and it’s very real.
Batman is straight up street. Nah mean!?
The villain doesn’t get much screen-time this issue, but that’s because most of the pages are developing what will most likely be a master plan by Wrath. Instead of just springing this plan on us though, Layman is dropping clues here and there which will assuredly pay off down the road. Sure, the corporate dude looking to buy Wayne Corp is a bit of a cliché, as well as his Tony Stark industry, but the breadcrumb style of plot development is a good sign something much more surprising is in store.
Oh no, you done screwed up now.
There’s a bit of a surprising twist to cap off the issue as well. It’s a rare thing for comics to spend time building up a character only to throw them away, which is why it works so well.
Somebody is getting an evil Robin.
- Sweet street level art
- Breadcrumb detective work required by the readers
- Anyone looking for a lot of Wrath should wait till next month
Unfortunately comics need to sell a promise on their cover to get people to purchase them. This cover seems to suggest we’re getting a ton of Wrath, but instead we’re getting an intro to a longer story. Don’t expect much Wrath when you crack this issue open. Those of you who have patience should dig this story. By all accounts Layman knows what he’s doing and we’re in for a wild ride.
Is It Good?
Yes. Batman is fighting a new type of threat and it’s exciting stuff.