Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Batman Damned #2 Review

Damn It!
Written by: Brian Azzarello
Pencils: Lee Bermejo
Inks: Lee Bermejo
Colored by: Lee Bermejo
Cover Price: $6.99
Release Date: December 12, 2018
Review by: Carlos Segui 

So here we have a continuation of the Black Label line in the form of Batman Damned #2.  While I am all about a more mature and graphic line of Batman books, is this worth continuing?  We’ll see.

If you were just paging through the book, the art alone would give you a feel of how the series wants you to perceive it.  It’s beautifully stunning and gritty. Some panels give you a very cinematic perspective into the world that Azzarello and Bermejo are attempting to portray.  The art is amazing. The very beginning with the stapled bat, to seeing Martha in complete shock after realizing Bruce’s homicidal intentions, through the close up on Enchantress’s eyes, and finally the panel with Harley begging to be reunited with Joker.  These are the panels that stuck out to me. My favorite one would have to be after Harley drugs Bruce and he is unable to focus on her face, very trippy and fun to look at.

Now let’s get into the actual story.  While a lot happens here, the pacing seems to be slowing down slightly from the first issue.  Throughout the story we have Constantine narrating. I am not a big fan of most of it. As I would read it, I thought to myself “who the fuck talks like this?”  Whatever, it’s fine to let’s just keep going through the issue.
We open with Constantine making fun of the cops and then turning his attention towards Bruce.  He tries to get into his head. While I am not sure exactly why I have a guess. I think that this series is alluding to Bruce having murdered someone, whether it is the Joker or someone in his past we will have to wait and find out.  Or I’m wrong. Bruce gets weirdly close to Constantine to toss his cigarette for some reason and then he is told about someone who can help with his investigation. Who? The Dee Man. More on that soon.

Next, we see more of this version of Batman’s origin.  It seems as though his parents don’t have the most perfect marriage as we all have been led to believe.  Thomas is storming out during an argument with Martha in front of Bruce. Bruce seems to then project his anger and frustration of witnessing his parent’s failing marriage onto his mother in the form of playtime matricide.  His mother turns in horror of what her son is becoming. Also a quick side note here, there is a lot of crying in this series. Like everyone has been crying. Enchantress also mentions that Bruce is “Tearless”, even though boy Bruce was crying earlier.  Maybe he is tearless now…I don’t know. What I do know is that these tears on everyone have to symbolize something in the series. Or they don’t.
Batman finds the club that Jason Blood is in to confront him, in front of everyone I guess, about the information that he needs.  If you are a huge fan of rap like I am, his whole set is weird, eye rolling, and cringe-worthy. I get it. It is a more grounded version of Etrigan and this is how you get all the rhyming to make sense in this world, but still.  It was bad. Jason does not appreciate being interrupted mid-set and makes everyone point their guns at Batman. Then when he is called out, for some reason he makes everyone turn on each other. Then Boston Brand tries to help by possessing some dude.  Not really helping here. How will Batman figure out a way to get out of this situation? He doesn’t have to. Harley blows shit up and that is enough of a distraction to give Batman an excuse to leave.

Enchantress shows up and pretty much leverages some secret over Bruce in exchange for his soul?  Not sure yet. Bruce and Boston then leave to go save no one from a burning building. I guess fuck the guy Boston possesses?  He was so excited to feel again that guy had to literally burn to pay the price. Even if he doesn’t die, he is fucked up for life.  Bruce finds the guy he was chasing who also says he knows some secret so of course he gets punched. Bruce passes out to be rescued by Jason.  I do not know why he would rescue him at all but sure.
We see in the next scene that Martha has hired someone to get information on Thomas.  Overwhelmed with grief she immediately begins the expensive habit of smoking. Cool. What was the information?  No idea.
After being rescued, Bruce is reminded that Joker is fucking around.  Batman leaps to action to learn that a mourning Harley Quinn has taken the mantle of Joker.  She set this whole thing up to get revenge on Batman. They fight and then she drugs him and tries to…um do things.  We want to know how you got those scars Harley. She is grieving the loss of her abusive lover so I guess…sure. Fine, but she doesn’t know that Batman has inoculated himself against every poison he could get his hands on.  Imagine that for a second. Anyway, he fights her off until some supernatural entity appears to be about to intervene.
Bits and Pieces:

I am still all in for the series.  While I still enjoyed this issue overall, I will need it to begin to pick up the pace.  I also need more content in this title that warrants the “Black Label” title outside of the occasional F-Bomb. With that being, said it needs to make sense for the story and not just be randomly placed there for the sake of it.  Speaking of story, I am very interested to know more about Bruce’s backstory. What is his secret? Where is the Joker?  Who is paying to listen to Jason Blood? The art continues to impress consistently. I look forward to seeing more of it.   I really want the next issue to blow my mind and I hope it will.


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