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Batman: The Devastator #1 Review

‘Batman: The Devastator’ tells the story of the Doomsday Virus infected Batman and his story leading up to Bats Out of Hell.

Batman: The Devastator is the sixth of seven Dark Knight one-shots detailing the backstories and invasions of the dark multiverse Batmen into Earth 0. The Devastator tells the story of what happened in the dark multiversal world of Earth -1 when Superman goes fully evil and the only way for Batman to stop him is by infecting himself with the Doomsday virus.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

As the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL rock the DC Universe, the creatures of the Dark Multiverse stand ready to invade our world! How can the World’s Greatest Heroes stop a horde of deadly beings that appear to be powerful nightmare versions of familiar figures? Find out in these special tie-in issues!

What’s the story?

The story within the issue details three different times: the first is a short segment during the same day Metal takes place. The second is a previous day where the Devastator infected Gotham with the Doomsday virus. The third is in the past on Earth -1 during the turning point wherein Batman turned into the Devastator to defeat a rogue Superman. This allows the creative team to show contrasts and multiple points where things have happened during the timeline of the Devastator, tie them into current events in Metal (the Bats Out of Hell tie in), things that have already happened in the overall event (the invasion), and the backstory.

The exploration of the Devastator’s backstory is okay but could have been improved by a few things. Further exploration into why Superman went crazy and a little more build-up before diving into how Batman managed to create the Doomsday Virus in the way he could use it and then later spread it on Earth 0 would have gone a long way.

The issue relies heavily on captions to tell the story through the Devastator talking, as if he’s speaking to Superman by explaining what he’s doing and why. While captions can be used to great effect, here they aren’t amazingly done and go on a bit too long. However, when speech is used, it is done very well.

While the issue shows why a group of characters (Wally West, Firestorm, Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz) are not present in the main event, it doesn’t feel as interesting to know due to them being defeated off panel instead of showing the fight as is done with Lobo, who is drawn incredibly well. Lobo is also characterized very well as his dialogue is easily the funniest in the issue.

And the art?

The art in the issue by Tony S. Daniel is really nice to look at. The way he draws the transformation from Bruce to Devastator is astonishing, especially as it’s the first time we’ve seen said transformation. The lines in the issue are very clear and concise with the inking and coloring matching them perfectly. The art shines the best especially when both Superman and Batman are on the page together as the contrast between their designs and color schemes is shown really well.

Overall, Batman: The Devastator has some really great art and some good writing. Unfortunately, much of the story is held back by an overuse of captions.

Batman: The Devastator #1
Is it good?
Batman: The Devastator has some really great art and some good writing that is held back by overuse of captions.
Telling the story during three different time frames allows for a range of how the character is.
The art by Tony S. Daniel is incredibly visually appealing and fits the story perfectly.
The overuse of captions in areas of the issue hold back the writing at times.
Elements of the backstory could have used more depth such as what made Superman go crazy and how Batman engineered the Doomsday Virus to work how it did.

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