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Batman: The Dark Knight has never been the strongest Batman series of the New 52. It is probably one of the weakest. But that still does not stop it from being a fun series. Yes, the story is all over the place with some uncreative plot points and twists, but most characters are interesting (with a ton to enjoy), the artwork is great, and sometimes the story becomes rather fascinated, though never deep.
Batman continues his study of the mysterious drug turning all of his villains into overpowered musclemen – but first he has to take care of a super strong Joker with the help of a surprising guest-star: the Flash!
Paul Jenkins’s story continues to be erratic. It lacks the depth that other “New 52” series have, but that does not stop it from being a fun read with a story that holds up in the end… also despite the fact that the actual ending is very disappointing and anti-climactic.
The surprise appearance of Joker in the last issue has a cop-out ending in this issue, but it does lead to some very grotesque and action-packed art that was quite enjoyable.
The drug is also further explained in this issue, in even greater detail than before, when it should have been. It may go in to too much detail, especially for those unacquainted with biology who will be shaking their heads and going “huh” during the scientific explanation of the drug, which was very fascinating.
Another fan-favorite superhero appears, the Flash, and he shouldn’t. For fans of Barry Allen, there is little of him here to enjoy and it feels like he is not really necessary. It continues that “all over the place” feel that the series has always had. The writer seems to want to include everyone in the DC Universe to entice readers to buy the series. Flash may be useful during the beginning of the issue, but he could have easily been written-out, with Finch having Batman find an alternate solution by himself.
Batman himself is enjoyable. While the action scenes with him are great, mostly thanks to David Finch’s art, Batman was at his best character-wise during his intimidating talk with Officer Forbes. The beginning of their talk, with Batman throwing a criminal on top of Forbes’ car, almost crushing him, feels like a bit much on Bat’s intimidation scale, but that cruel action is completely forgotten when Batman starts threatening Forbes and proves just how awesome an intimidator Batman really is – while effectively making Forbes a whimpering simpleton. Forbes needs to develop more as a character in the future instead of just saying the “I hate Batman despite the fact that he helps us” type of cop that has been the norm in Batman for a countless number of years.
This scene is also great because Batman mentions Bruce Wayne in a somewhat negative light and it is always interesting to see how much Bruce wants to separate from his real self.
Batman’s newest enemy, White Rabbit, is still as mysterious as ever and it is suggested that the most obvious (and not to mention only) choice for her identity could not possibly be her, and that would be a good twist. There is not a lot of her to enjoy, but she definitely leaves you with the impression of a femme fatale.
Most of David Finch’s art is very enjoyable. His artistic style shines when he draws his villains. There is a full page spread of the main surprise villain Batman fights in this issue and is a great opening scene. The action bits truly show off Jenkins’ villain designs. The colors are nothing special and fail to impress me (especially after how spoiled I was with Catwoman), but they do not hurt the artwork.
If you can’t stomach the sometimes excessive gore in Detective Comics, this series is a little more palatable with some great art and a simple storyline to follow despite it being all over the place, but you will definitely need to read the previous issues to understand this issue.