How many issues of a comic does it take to fully explain a character’s backstory? It’s been done in one for sure, but with five full issues one might have a touch more expectations at the ready. The Mad Hatter has been getting a New 52 reboot in Batman: The Dark Knight and things seem to be coming to a close. Next issue may be the concluding chapter, but when cliches seem to be rearing their head in this weeks issue…is it good?
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011-) #20 (DC Comics)
If you missed our earlier reviews in this series you can find them here: The Dark Knight #16, The Dark Knight #17, The Dark Knight #18, and The Dark Knight #19.
If you’re expecting any new information you’re s--t out of luck this issue as all we get is a pretty standard “Batman races to save a kidnapped victim” issue. Last issue Mad Hatter dumped hundreds of bodies into the Gotham river after his reenactment of the day he fell in love failed. Unfortunately for Bats, Mad Hatter took a liking to his girlfriend. What makes matters worse is Hatter knows she’s involved with Batman as he dropped her off at an opera gig in the Batplane. Subtle.
Gotham sure has a lot of sinkholes and secret chambers, eh?
This issue spends all of its time going through the motions until the final page. That final page is a bit of a surprise, but the rest…really could be skipped. Batman is troubled with the idea that he can’t love anyone because his life is darkness. Or so Alfred tells him. I’m not so sure Alfred’s insistence Batman must give up the cowl to have a lover is very fair or in character. What happened to the optimistic Alfred who only cared about feeding Batman sandwiches?
Melodramatic panel much?
The real meat of this issue focuses on Bruce’s decision to give up the cowl…eventually. The rest is a by-the-numbers Hatter kidnapping and demanding to know who Batman is shlock. It doesn’t help that the woman Batman will potentially leave superherodom for isn’t in any other Bat books and was only introduced a few issues ago. How can we take his retirement seriously when we know this character will be thrown out next month anyway?
Szymon Kudranski does a good job on the moody and atmospheric art, although I would have enjoyed a bit more Batman in my Batman comic. It’s not his fault the story slogs along and he does a good enough job with the quiet moments to keep things moving along. I am however a little annoyed that Ethan Van Sciver couldn’t finish this series out. His pencils added a much needed detail to technology and his leaving the series the last two issues throws off the story a bit.
The slow reaching grab is a classic villain move.
- Moody art
- Boring story
- Yet another girlfriend of Batman that must DIE
This issue started off very slow and sloppy and ramped up when it divulged the Mad Hatter’s backstory. With his backstory out of the way the story has resorted to another by-the-numbers Bat caper we can easily predict. I won’t spoil anything here, but the concluding page makes me wonder if it’s poor timing considering Batman just lost Damian. We shall see in the concluding issue next month.
Is It Good?
Nope. Very skippable and boring stuff.