Before the Batarangs, Batmobile, and of course the cape and cowl, there was just Bruce Wayne. Batman: Nightwalker is an incredible new story based on a novel written by Marie Lu adapted by Stuart Moore with some spectacular visuals by Chris Wildgoose and Cam Smith. It’s a coming of age tale about a young man coming into his own, upholding justice, and learning to never underestimating people. This is a must-read for any hardcore Batman fan, and even if you’re not it’s still worth checking out anyway.
In Nightwalker, we meet teenage Bruce Wayne right when he’s about to turn 18 and officially inherit the Wayne fortune. In addition to that, he’s nearing the end of high school and deciding what he wants to do with his future. Things are going great until the night of a memorial benefit in honor of his mother, Martha Wayne, leads to him getting into an argument with a high school classmate named Richard. Afterward, he goes outside to blow off some steam which leads to him being involved in a high-speed car chase.
He ends up on probation and as a result, has to do community service at the one place in the future he becomes way to associated with, Arkham Asylum. He’s put on janitorial duty sweeping and mopping floors in the prison hallways. It’s here that he meets Madeleine, a member of the Nightwalkers. The Nightwalkers are a group of people dressed in really cool ninja-like outfits with night vision goggles. They target the rich, gain control of their fortunes, use the money to fund their operations and then kill their victims.
Nightwalker is a fantastic series that just enhances the reason why fans have loved the caped crusader for generations. It’s the show we’ve never gotten outside of the small glimpses of his life through a young Bruce on the TV show Gotham. Bruce Wayne has always stood up for justice and this book gives you a good hard look at the great young detective at work. It captures all the elements that make him the Bat including heart, humility, determination, and of course his investigative skills.
Of course, this story wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t get some additional characters from the Batman universe. We’re introduced to a young Harvey Dent, Lucious Fox, and of course Alfred Pennyworth. But the breakout character in this series is definitely Madeleine. Bruce and Madeleine’s chemistry through the story is top-notch and is reminiscent of Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (except she doesn’t eat people). She’s easily an intellectual foe or ally that reminds you of classic Batman characters like The Riddler.
Chris Wildgoose and Cam Smith
Wildgoose and Smith do an exceptional job of bringing Gotham City to life. This isn’t the first rodeo for either one of them, and you can tell they know what they’re doing by their extensive detail on every page of the book. One of my favorite tropes they subtly draw throughout the book, especially in Arkham, are bats flying above Bruce’s head as if they’re foreshadowing what we already know.
Batman: Nightwalker is such a good read you’ll find yourself flipping back through the pages to see every Easter egg you can find from the DC universe. It’s entertaining, the pacing is perfect, and it will leave you guessing at every turn. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I think you will too.
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