Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Batman: Damned #3 Review and Spoilers

Long awaited conclusion.  Kind of.

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Lee Bermejo
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: June 26, 2019
Cover Price: $6.99
Review by: Carlos S.

While it has felt like a year since the last issue has come out, the series has finally concluded.  Batman has been running around Gotham with John Constantine to solve the mystery surrounding not only the Joker but his past as well.  There are many questions that were set up throughout the series so let’s see if we have answers that satisfy… 
We start with Batman trapped in a coffin.  Actually, we start by talking about the illusion of control but let’s skip ahead anyway.  He was somehow placed there after his encounter with Harley Quinn.  They were actively fighting each other when it looks like Enchantress intervenes.  Where did Harley Quinn go?  Batman is buried so deep that it looks like there is no way that our great escapist will ever see clouds again.  With great luck, Swamp Thing was hanging out nearby.
Swamp Thing rescues Batman while Constantine tauntingly narrates.  Swamp thing is warning Batman to never trust Constantine, which is what literally everyone says.  Swamp Thing is done saving people because Enchantress was about to kill Constantine with a statue.

Enchantress continues to torment Batman due to what seems like an unfulfilled promise on his end.  His confusion only frustrates her more.  The panels of her moving tree to tree while instigating Batman look amazing.  Something that I would love to see in a Batman horror movie.  Again, Swamp Thing intervenes.  Batman has really had enough of Constantine at this point and is sure to let him know.  This only makes Swamp Thing like Batman more but at this point, he pretty much say’s “Fuck this, I’m out.”  Constantine informs Batman that he can help him see the dead.  Why would Constantine not lead with this?  I don’t know what the time frame is throughout this series but I would assume at least a couple days.  That would be a couple days too long if I was Batman and Constantine could do this the entire time.

Now we get a flashback to that fateful night at the theater.  We see a little more insight into the twist of the Wayne marriage from traditional continuity.  Honestly, I found this relationship fresh and interesting.  The concept of them having a shitty marriage is new and definitely intrigues me to want to see more, if not only out of morbid curiosity.  Come on like I said, it’s out of continuity so don’t freak out about it.  We see Enchantress leading Bruce Wayne down an alley to what seems to be the family’s eventual fate.
Constantine leads Batman to Zatanna.  We last saw Zatanna as a street performer in the first issue.  I don’t know why but I was not expecting to see her again.  Now all four of them begin to discuss their plan.  Yes, I said four because Deadman has shown up because I guess he is needed for Zatanna’s plan to work.

The séance brings Batman and Constantine back to that night and this is where things start to get weird.  Also, Deadman rat is there.  Looks like this was originally meant to be where Bruce Wayne died with his family and Enchantress brought him back to life.  Not sure exactly and I feel like that should have been explained just a little more.  Also, I guess this is Enchantress’s true form?  Bruce Wayne and Batman are both in shock but it is ok but Constantine and Deadman defeat Enchantress.

Batman decides that it is time to go to the morgue.  Really time to get back to that whole Joker thing.  Batman is confronted by the Spectre that’s been hanging out all series.  He knows what happened with the Joker and he lets Batman know that he knows.  Turns out Batman was fatally stabbed by the Joker on the bridge but Joker falls hanging on only by one hand.  Batman instinctively is going to save him but decides that if he is not alive, no one will stop the Joker.  He lets him fall.  In the morgue Batman trades his life for the Jokers, which sets up a possible sequel series. 

I still have a few slight questions though in no particular order:  Again, where did Harley Quinn go?  What did the Joker do to her?  What did Martha Wayne see in that envelope?  Was it evidence of Thomas’s affair?  Is Batman really really dead?  Why did Enchantress care to begin with?  Would I read the sequel series with the Joker?  Sure.  I feel like I already have though (See Azzarello’s Joker).

Now last but not least, let’s talk about the main draw of this book.  The art.  The art is amazing throughout, like really fucking good.  This might be why it took so long to come out but if so, that’s fine.  It is so detailed that the lame parts of the story can easily be forgiven.  Every time I saw Enchantress I was enthralled.  Her creepy mannerisms throughout the series are well displayed.  Swamp Thing looked huge and epic.  You can see the sarcasm from Constantine.  The landscapes have been given the amount of detail where every brick of every building looks alive.  The colors do nothing but compliment the art in every way, they just work.  Enough cannot be said about the art.

Bits and Pieces:

All in all, the story was alright.  Before reviewing the third issue I read through the entire series to refresh my memory.  The tone remained consistent for the most part, even if it started to fall off for me midway through the second issue.  I felt like the initial controversy from the first issue caused the writer to really tone down the graphic “Black Label vibes” that I had been looking forward to with this imprint.  I felt like certain aspects of the story needed more explanation but had a decent time nonetheless.  I did not like the lettering with Constantine’s narration, it grew old fast.  Lastly, to reiterate, the art is almost perfect.  


1 comment:

  1. I think Batman died on that bridge and everything we saw after that was just Batman's spirit or all happening in some sort of weird purgatory or something. It's basically Batman: the Sixth Sense. He was dead the whole time. The corpse he saw in the Morgue at the end was his own, which is why he was zapped into that drawer.

    Seeing Joker emerge from the water at the end is just leading to the same thing from the Joker's perspective.