Title: Batman: Damned (2018-) #1
Imprint: DC Black Label
Words: Brian Azzarello
Pencils: Lee Bermejo
Inks: Lee Bermejo
Colors: Lee Bermejo
Published: September 19, 2018
Publisher’s Summary: The Joker is dead. There is no doubt about that. But whether Batman finally snapped his scrawny neck or some other sinister force in Gotham City did the deed is still a mystery.Problem is, Batman can’t remember…and the more he digs into this labyrinthian case, the more his mind starts to doubt everything he’s uncovering. So who better to set him straight than…John Constantine? Problem with that is as much as John loves a good mystery, he loves messing with people’s heads even more. So with John’s “help,” the pair will delve into the sordid underbelly of Gotham as they race toward the mind-blowing truth of who murdered The Joker. BATMAN: DAMNED is a bimonthly super-natural horror story told by two of comics’ greatest modern creators—a visceral thrill-ride that proudly puts the “black” in BLACK LABEL.
The Joker is dead and Batman, who, at the start of this books, is just barely holding own to his own life, is unsure if he was the one who killed Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime and, apparently, John Constantine is the only person in the DCU capable of assisting Batman in his attempt to uncover the truth. If you’ve read my reviews in the past, or have listened to me talk comics on our YouTube channel, you already know how I would feel that a story like this was written just for me; thus, saying that I was eager and had high expectations going into my reading of this book is an understatement. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.
On all fronts, Batman: Damned #1 exceeded my expectations. This issue is teeming with supernatural elements and visual metaphors, and at times, it is unsettling–haunting–and intense. Surely the best and most intense is yet to come, but the creators of this issue pull no lunches and immediately start swinging once the round bell rings.
Brian Azzarello’s script is impressive; it moves at a fast, but easy-to-digest, pace, and the voice that he utilizes for John Constantine–who narrates this tale–feels authentic. Azzarello has placed Batman in an interesting predicament, surrounded him by strange and interesting people, and, in this first chapter, immersed readers in darkness.
Lee Bermejo’s art, like Azzrello’s script, is stunning. Flawless composition combined with bold line-work, dynamic expressions, and grit, gives this book a unique, hyper-realistic look and feel that stands out from the rest of DC’s catalog.
Batman: Damned #1 gives readers good reason to not only keep reading this bi-monthly series, but also, look forward to Future books being released under DC’s new imprint: DC Black Label. This book marks and exciting first step in what promises to be an epic journey.
The Bottom Line:
Haunting and intense, Batman: Damned #1 is a damn-good comic book and an absolute must-read for bat-fans; a near-perfect debut.