Batman: Damned #1
Updated: Sep 25, 2018
Reviewed by: Robbie Rowe
Rating: 8 out of 8
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Lee Bermejo
The Joker is dead – but who killed him? Seemingly, it wasn’t Batman,
Commissioner Gordon has faith in that – but the Dark Knight himself isn’t so sure. Batman: Damned #1 is the first of the DC Black label, where DC’s doing more mature, adult stories, without being in the same continuity as the main DC comic universe.
Batman Damned is a very different kind of Batman story to what you might be
used to. It’s illustrated in a very distinctive way, much like Bermejo did for his
previous collaborations with Azzarello, like Luthor, Joker, or Batman: Noel, a
Christmas focused Batman story. Luthor o’ course focused on Superman’s
follically challenged arch nemesis Lex Luthor, while Joker focused more on the
Clown Prince of Crime who, even in death, here, continues to torment the Caped Crusader.
Interestingly, Damned isn’t actually narrated by Batman, or even the Joker, but
instead by chain smoking, beige coat draped John Constantine, who’s well versed in the supernatural, the odd cigarette and, inevitably, life... and death. He’s definitely not a superhero and I’d say falls more in a grey area of morality, though he’s saved many people and helped many a creature before.
Even better than having Constantine and Batman in the same comic is having
Deadman and what looks to be Zatanna as well. Zatanna’s a female magician,
daughter to the famed Zatarra, who both have to incant their spells backwards in order for them to work. Meanwhile, Deadman is the former circus acrobat Boston Brand, who as a ghostly figure is able to possess different people.
The issue ends on a very horrifying image and it’s gonna be a frustrating wait for issue 2, come 21st November. I personally prefer Constantine with a bit of stubble, whereas here he’s more clean shaven. He’s still Constantine, a lovable chancer who made me laugh twice during the issue and who I’d really welcome back on a regular basis from DC. A fairly good issue, with really nothing to complain about. Recommended for one of the first tastes of DC Black, as there’s also Batman: White Knight, in which the Joker is sane.