The Batman’s Grave is a great example of how Batman is so unique from most superheroes. He’s a god damn detective, and we should be proud of that! Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch have shown they’re very capable of showing the measured and intelligent nature of probing a scene to find clues. In the fourth issue, however, it’s time to smash skulls with brutal force. Let’s get some!
This issue opens with Batman suiting up in what looks like some heavy-duty armor. We’re talking brass-knuckles style gloves and a helmet that can take a beating. He’s soon heading to where the baddies are with Alfred in his ear and it’s time to throw down. Hitch draws an exceptional fight scene that truly shows how bone-breakingly brutal Batman can be. He’s not Mr. Nice Guy here, and it’s reminiscent of a Batman who knows when to bring the hurt. The action is fun to follow and I found myself going back and forth between panels to see how well Hitch has choreographed the scene. Since it’s an issue of nearly all action it does read pretty quickly, but I found myself lingering longer than I usually do with a fight-comic thanks to Hitch simply blowing you away panel to panel.
Props are in order for colorist Alex Sinclair. The fight scene takes place in a dark room so it’s mostly cast in blues to convey this, and it looks great. The spark of light is seen in the street earlier on and it looks just perfect in its atmosphere. There is a drug in the fight scene that looks really cool too. It’s an orange mixture that has an unreal look and suits the nature of its questionable abilities.
The book ends with a great moment between Alfred and Bruce. I won’t spoil it, but it touches on Alfred’s concern and argument about his resources being better suited used in a different manner. The last word balloon had me in stitches. The camaraderie of the two characters feels genuine and natural given the extraordinary circumstances of being Batman.
Since this is a 12 issue maxi-series there are going to be chapters like this that speed up the pace just so they can slow it down. Reading a book like this in the single-issue format ends up making chapters like this fly by, but I’d wager it’s going to be a delightful change of pace when read all in one sitting.
As far as fight comics go this is a must-read. Batman is brutal and surgical in his strikes. You feel every blow, you’ll hang on the edge of your seat with every panel, and you’ll be reminded how badass Batman can be.