Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Batman: Creature of the Night #2 Review

Case Closed

Written by: Kurt Busiek
Art by: John Paul Leon
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: December 27, 2017

The first issue of Creature of the Night impressed me so much. Seeing a kid's life mirror the origins of Batman in such a meta way was so intriguing and my mind was racing as we saw Batman himself (maybe?) start fighting crime in 60's Boston.  The book was full of mysteries and questions that I'm not sure will be answered in this issue, but I can't wait to see what happens next.  So, is this issue as good as the first one?  Let's find out...

The issue opens years from the last issue's cliffhanger.  Bruce is going to Harvard and is filthy rich.  Yep, the similarities to Bruce Wayne continue and before we can really settle in and figure out everything, we get Batman.  I love how the art changes from such a bright book to all purples and blacks when Batman is involved.  I also like how brutal this Batman is.  I won't go as far as Wrong Turn's "I like the killing" since this is still Batman of some sort, but I like the brutality that puts this book in more of a real space than the comics that Bruce Wainwright and all of us enjoy.  There is still the mystery of why the papers aren't reporting on all the crime-fighting that Bruce and Batman are doing and after the years that have gone by, it does make you wonder if it is, in fact, happening at all.  Again...mysteries!

As we continue, we see how Batman is helping out Gordon and the police and that Bruce's obsession with anything connected to Batman has paid off big time.  There are continued promises of secret lives from Uncle Alfred and a look at how Bruce is getting along and then...Batman.  The Dark Knight does seem to pop up out of nowhere in this book and when he does, I have to admit, he brings a rush of adrenaline with him.

The problem is, the more he shows up, the more I doubt he is real.  That's easily the biggest mystery of the it just Bruce coping with the loss of his parents still or is this some sort of supernatural manifestation of vengeance.  I'll be honest, I hope it's the second, but I'll be good with either.

We then get confirmation of why Alfred couldn't fully take in Bruce after his parents were killed and Busiek handles it in a way that makes me like Bruce even more than I did before, especially considering the time frame this book is set in.  I liked him even more as he asks Alfred to set up a victim's fund like the one Bruce Wayne set up in a comic in 1968 (actually Batman #217 from 1969).
Of course, the first person that Bruce helped was a girl named Robin and I couldn't help but chuckle at his explanation of why he couldn't be seen doing things with a teenager.  I guess Bruce Wainwright is a bit different than his least for now.

The issue continues making Bruce a totally likable guy as he bucks racism to fund development we have the foreknowledge to know will work out and we even get to see the Yaz (look it up) at a point in time when he was still the last Triple Crown Winner (again, look it up).  The last bit was such a nice touch to remind anyone who had forgotten that we are in Boston and it was just a kick for a baseball fan who may hate the Red Sox, but likes anything baseball nonetheless.

Most of the remainder of the issue is devoted to Bruce trying to solve the cold case of Robin's parent's murder.  We get a cool look at a brutal Batman getting answers and finally the case being solved.  Seriously, everything seems to be coming up roses for Bruce and I have been loving every minute of it, but that's not usually how life is, right?  I mean, something has to go wrong, right?

Well, it does go wrong in a way that you could see coming from the very beginning, but still is as shocking as if you didn't.  Busiek is still not giving us the full answers, but we know enough to know enough for this book to get even more interesting from here on out.

I love this series.  After two issues, I am completely invested in the story and the characters and can't wait to see more.  We still have a lot to figure out and I am fully eager to do so.  While I have gone on and on about Kurt Busiek's writing, John Paul Leon's art is just as much a part of this awesome book and I'd be remiss if I didn't give him full kudos as well.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman: Creature of the Night is an odd book to explain or recommend, but I can't see anyone who gives it a try not falling in love with it on some level.  It's a Batman book, of course, but it's also a book about a young man trying to make his way through life amongst both tragedy and accomplishments.  Highly recommended.


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