Review: Batman: The Merciless #1

As the events of Dark Knights: Metal rock the DC Universe, the creatures of the Dark Multiverse stand ready to invade! Who are these nightmare versions of Batman from the Dark Multiverse? These one-shots not only enhance the bigger picture but serve as a solid way to learn more about each without hurting the flow of the story.

Written by Peter J. Tomasi, Batman: The Merciless gives us the “Wonder Woman” version of Batman. In the issue we get the origin of this dark knight as it involves a battle with Ares and a magical helmet. The story itself bounces between the origin of this Batman and how he destroyed his world and those attempting to oppose him with the world’s superheroes not around to help.

There’s some good in that the issue allows us to see a bit of a focus on the “average” person dealing with this attack. The average person being the head of various clandestine organizations like Steve Trevor, Amanda Waller, the DEO, etc, etc. We see panic and a sense of helplessness. And that’s the most interesting thing about the comic, until we get to the end and with a quick twist Tomasi delivers something that makes the reader take notice and what goes from an ok issue to something rather interesting.

The art by Francis Manapul is good. He’s an artist that consistently delivers and one of the top talents DC has. This is a Batman whose visuals scream Conan more than Wonder Woman and that’s totally ok. The final design is foreboding and there’s a girth and size about the character that feels like it’d make quick work of Doomsday. There are some slight issues in some panels where some of the damage the Merciless does isn’t quite clear (though that could be the digital review copy) and some of those injured, it just doesn’t feel epic enough.

The issue is a good one and out of the four I’d place it third in quality. The twist at the end is what elevates it from mediocre. It wasn’t until that moment that I really was interested in the issue and that’s what makes it stand out. It’s a detail that really changes how to perceive this character and makes him all that more scarier.

Story: Peter J. Tomasi Art: Francis Manapul Cover Art: Jason Fabok
Story: 7.85 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review