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Batman: The Murder Machine #1 Review

Comic Books

Batman: The Murder Machine #1 Review

The Cyborg-like Batman nightmare gets a full origin story in this unnerving issue.

Last week’s Dark Nights: Metal tie-in revealed there’s plenty of complexity to these nightmare Batman characters. In that instance we saw a Flash version of Batman and learned why he took Barry Allen’s powers. This issue aims to reveal Cyborg’s involvement in the latest Batman nightmare to get a good fleshing out.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

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As the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL rock the DC Universe, the creatures of the Dark Multiverse stand ready to invade our world! How can even the World’s Greatest Heroes stop a horde of deadly beings that appear to be powerful, nightmare versions of familiar figures?

Why does this matter?

Frank Tieri and James Tynion IV write a nightmare I think we all actually fear: the concept of a computer that can’t be stopped. Riccardo Federici draws this issue with some vivid colors by Rain Beredo that make it look incredibly realistic and thus even scarier.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Batman: The Murder Machine #1 Review
This issue is all about fathers and sons.

This issue opens with Cyborg talking to his dead from the Watchtower in space. In three pages Tieri reminds readers Cyborg has a tight relationship with his dad, which adds a layer to the narrative when backstory is revealed about the Cyborg-related Batman nightmare. Much of this issue takes place in flashback — similar to the Flash issue — as it reveals how another universe’s Batman turned evil. Needless to say, the alternate dimension Batman has ties to his universe’s version of Cyborg and the story holds up quite well. Certainly their Batman turns evil when ours wouldn’t, but he has good cause to go all in with a hyper futuristic technology.

A big surprise in this issue involves the ending that includes many of the nightmares we saw revealed in Dark Nights: Metal #2. I won’t spoil why they show up, but it’s an unnerving scene that reveals DC is not pulling any punches!

Speaking of not pulling any punches, Federici draws a heck of an issue. The design of the Cyborg-like Batman nightmare is pretty unnerving. The mouth in particular is freaky to look at and very inhuman. In a rather violent last few pages, Federici and Beredo draw some wickedly gruesome scenes and there really isn’t much gore. There’s blood, but the level of ferocity the villains bring is upsetting. If the other tie-ins are like this one, be prepared for some horror rich superhero comics

Batman: The Murder Machine #1 Review
That face really freaks me out.

It can’t be perfect can it?

My only gripe with this issue is the lack of development in the alternate universe Batman. Similar to The Red Death, Batman seems to have gone out of his mind a bit and that allows the choices to take hold and screw things up. It’d be a bit more interesting if he fought these urges, or at least had some goodness in him, but it appears these alternate universe Batman characters are rather easy to twist into total evil incarnations.

Is It Good?

Another home run issue for a DC Comics event that is holding its end of the bargain when it comes to horror. The comic is unnerving, and further fleshes out the rogues gallery of nightmares. You’ll be on the edge of your seat and wanting more!

Batman: The Murder Machine #1 Review
Batman: The Murder Machine #1
Is it good?
Another solid tie-in that fleshes out a nightmare in unnerving ways.
Tight art that's realistic looking
Some unnerving and horrific stuff in this issue make it a good superhero horror comic
The alternate universe Batman lacks complexity

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