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After the less than impressive first issue, Batman: The Dark Knight has an entertaining and fascinating story despite some issues with plot points, some out of character behavior and some lackluster exchanges of dialogue. Does all of this Stop this issue from being good? No, but it keeps it from being as great as it should be.
After a brawl with Two-Face, Batman discovers several of his other iconic enemies have also been given some steroid-esque bodies. He begins to learn more about the drug causing this transformation and follows his only lead – a mysterious white rabbit.
Writer Paul Jenkins’s first major downfall in this issue happens only two pages in when Batman defeats Two Face. Only two pages in and the battle featured on the cover that was what the first issue spent its entire time doing is over, a disappointing conclusion. The entire issue has pacing problems, going by very quickly. There are also some issues with the characters.
One scene between Commissioner Gordon and Batman is the one with major problems. Batman has never been happy, but he acts so coldly towards Gordon, while Gordon complains a lot more than usual, an unfitting match for both characters. The other scene between Alfred and Batman is much better, with Alfred being his usual funny self adds a nice humorous touch to the series. Batman shows just how familiar he is with Alfred and even smiles – a rare occurrence, though it does seem to becoming more frequent with the New 52. And even though Batman normally reacts slightly differently with Alfred and Gordon, these conversations are back-to-back and make Batman’s personality seem glaringly inconsistent.
Tons of other allies and villains of Batman make appearances
in this issue, making this a great fan service issue, even if most characters
are thrown in unnecessarily.
Readers even get to see Robin and Nightwing fighting side-by-side
together again. The villains are
all effected by the drugs and none are given any time to shine, but it is
interesting to note that Arnold Wesker is back to being the Ventriloquist, a
character originally killed off back in Detective Comics #818 to make way for
the newer ventriloquist who was a woman.
Despite acting out of character because of the drugs it is an
interesting decision to bring Wesker back that will hopefully be followed up
soon in the future.
The newest character, White Rabbit, has barely spoken but all of her dialogue so far has appeared to be a standard bat-villain. She is another Lewis Carroll villain, ironic since we see the Mad Hatter in this issue as well. It would have been interesting to see the two characters connect considering their similar backgrounds, but this is never taken advantage of. It is also fairly predictable who the White Rabbit is, but if it turns out to be someone different it would definitely be an unfair challenge to any detectives out there trying to figure it out, since there is only one person who it could possibly be. This unfortunately seems standard for most comics today. The ending is also disappointing having a similar ending to the first but hopefully not the same results.
The new drug in the comic, while unfortunately causing all the villains to act out of character, is fascinating to hear about but is not fully explained – it is said to take away a person’s fear and because their body can not handle it they bleed out of their eyes. The bleeding out from the eyes part is cool but definitely an excuse to cop out of the endings of several fights, namely the Two Face fight at the beginning. The only thing not explained is how the drug increases strength, or at least body mass, making Two Face and the rest of the villains look like they are jacked up on steroids.
David Finch’s art gets mixed results with no great full page panels to show off his artistic style. The backgrounds and characters’ faces also suffer from too many lines and blood is very overused in this issue. The characters are definitely less overtly rippled than last issue, but the characters all still looking sub-par and Alfred sporting more wrinkly than ever.
The story may not be paced as well as the first and has some outrageous out-of-character moments and average artwork from an accomplished artist, but it is a more fun read than the first, with constant action always keeping us entertained.