Story: Darick Robertson
Art: Darick Robertson
Colors: Diego Rodriguez
Letterer: Simon Bowland
What They Say:
BAD NIGHT, GOOD KNIGHT begins! Legendary Creator Darick Robertson (The Boys, Happy) crafts a horrifying night in Gotham City that will change Batman forever. A new player in the city is selling a deadly chemical and all of Batman’s villains want to buy. Batman is going to have to stop the chemical from being sold, and stop a deadly stand-off between The Penguin and Mr. Freeze!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With a bunch of digital-first series over the last few years, it’s actually surprising how few of them are Batman-lead when you get down to it. So I was pretty pleased when this series was announced as I don’t follow the mainstream books at all. But launching it with Darick Robertson handling both the art and scripting for it? I’m all in on that to be sure. Robertson’s had a lot of really solid work over the years and I’ve enjoyed his output a great deal, especially when it comes to Gotham and those that are within it. He’s got a great take on familiar characters so they’re easily recognizable but there’s some good nuance and detail to them that brings it to life all the more. And with this opening installment, the storytelling works pretty well too, even if I’m not a fan of events being relayed after the fact.
The premise for this storyline that gets underway involves someone that’s being called the gas mask killer. He’s brought a new form of poison to Gotham with a weaponized sarin gas and it’s lead to some dead people that were being trafficked in a container and it has him going to members of Gotham’s criminal elite soliciting bids for it. With the Joker already quite interested, he attempts to get an offer from the Penguin and we get a handle on how brutal the gas mask guy is there in highlighting the efficacy of the gas on his own guys. Of course, Penguin was supposed to go in on this with Mr. Freeze but jumped the gun to try and grab it for himself, which leads us to a bit of an internal criminal power struggle that’s amusing to watch unfold.
With all of this going on, we get the tale told through Jim Gordon as he and a couple of other cops wait alongside the batsignal hoping Batman will come along. But we see through the narration how Batman has been following this himself from the very start, which Gordon knows, and has been hitting the street to find information and roughing up the right people for it. Knowing that the next target of value is going to be the Joker, he’s able to get Gordon to start the pattern for figuring out where he is in order to try and stop the gas mask killer and it works well in establishing the boundaries of this storyline. I like the framing overall and that we get some solid dialogue and narration from Batman as well, so we get a couple of different views that still revolve around the same central storyline.
While a familiar setup is underway here, there’s plenty to like with the book as it gets going. I have very fond memories of the 90’s release of the Legend of the Dark Knight series and while I won’t say I wasn’t expecting the kind of prestige book here we got then, I was looking forward to getting some fun Batman stories without having to grapple with the whole of continuity. And that’s what’s being offered here in a good clean way, a chance to read some solid Batman stories with solid creative talent behind it without all the extra stuff that a lot of casual readers aren’t looking for – while allowing all of that to exist in the mainline books. Darick Robertson is a great pick to start this off with as the script is good, the characterizations are strong, and the artwork is great. I’m looking forward to the rest of it.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: April 2nd, 2021