A Darker Knight
Written by: Christos Gage
Art by: Joe Bennett, Sean Parsons, Hi-Fi and Deron Bennett
I can't wait for Batman v Superman. I know that doesn't sound like a mind bending statement, but for me to actually get my butt up and go to the movies takes a whole lot and I will be seeing this movie in the theater. I felt the same way for Star War: The Force Awakens, but there was one difference. I didn't want to know anything about it before going in, just like the little eight year old Jim Werner who saw Episode 4 so many years ago. I don't feel that way about Batman v Superman. I want all the information I can get before March 25 and that includes these prequel comics. Dr. Pepper threw together a pretty kick ass promotion where you get codes with certain 20 oz bottles of Dr. Pepper products that unlock each chapter. When I heard about this, I thought these would be "chapters", but they are actually the length and quality of any Digital First book that DC Comics regularly releases. The first chapter features Batman and that's where we will start. Makes sense, right? Well, here goes...
The issue opens up with an arson job in progress. Of course, that means Firefly and I have to admit, when I saw him I had a big smile on my face. I guess it was because I didn't really expect to see villains like him on display in these prequels and while I realize that it doesn't guarantee anything in the movie, it gives me hope that we will see more characters than I thought before.
I will spoil something for you right here...there isn't a whole lot of Batman in this chapter. We do learn a bit about the Dark Knight, but it's through the dialogue of Firefly's two henchman. The older of the two spends most of the issue telling the younger guy how the Bat has changed over the years. He tells him of the days when Batman was tough and compares them to now. These darker times has lead to a darker Batman who has become downright brutal. It really points to a Dark Knight Returns Batman which makes complete sense.
I really liked learning about Batman through the eyes of a street criminal with the half myth/half fact point of view, but that changed when he brought up the "Metropolis Situation". The guy becomes less of a criminal afraid of the Batman and more a psychoanalyst and it came off as really forced. I understand that the goal of this comic is to show us what type of Batman to expect, but it could have been done better.
Batman finally does show up and takes care of the situation and while it looked awesome, I didn't get the sense of brutality that was spoken of before and after the scene. It was just classic Batman kicking ass. Nothing crazy here.
I like the way Christos Gage laid out the information about Batman, but nothing in the actual comic backed up what we heard. Plus, some of it was just forced and seemed above the thug who said it. Still, Gage does give us the information and the reader ends the comic knowing that Batman is brutal and pissed at Superman.
Joe Bennett's art was really good. Everything looked great and it goes above and beyond what I expected from a free (well, almost free) comic book chapter.
Bits and Pieces:
This prequel chapter is a great value that gets the job done, but in a quick and forced way. We don't learn anything new, but the art and dialogue make it well worth the price of a soda to read. If you are like me and want to get your hands on everything Batman v Superman, pick this up.