Hello everyone! Welcome to The Readers Corner. This new series is where you’ll come to read about everything relating to books.
Everything from best-selling novels to comic books will be discussed here and I’m excited to see how well this does here. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this ever since I wrote my last book review. I really enjoyed it and it did better than I thought it would. So… I’ve decided to add books in rotation with everything else that I do here.
I’ve been catching up on my reading lately. I’ve read a bunch of stuff from Aquaman and I’m currently focusing on Batman. I was… apprehensive coming into these books. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them. I’ve currently read all of the tie-ins in this series. Well… not all of them, but I’ve read all of the backstories of the different versions of Batman and I think they’re all really interesting. Here are the books that I’ll be writing about today –
Dark Days: The Forge
Dark Days: The Casting
Batman: The Red Death
Batman: The Murder Machine
Batman: The Dawnbreaker
Batman: The Drowned
Batman: The Merciless
Batman: The Devastator
Dark Knight: The Batman Who Laughs
That’s 9 books I’ll be going over and, if you haven’t guessed already, there will be some spoilers ahead. I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum though.
The story starts off with The Forge and The Casting. In these books Batman is obsessing over something he doesn’t understand. Over something he can’t quite prove, but he’s sure it exist. He’s acting out of character and worrying those around him. Green Lantern was given an assignment to investigate the Batcave and whenever Green Lantern has an assignment you know The Guardians consider whatever is happening a threat. So Green Lantern starts investigating, runs into one of Batman’s many sidekicks, kicks his ass and discovers that Batman is keeping Joker hostage in his Batcave. Throughout these stories you see Batman travelling around the globe trying to uncover the mysteries of this new metal that he’s found.
You also see the past being played out alongside what’s happening in the present. Hawkman is narrating what’s happening in the past and telling the story of what Batman is currently trying to figure out. I’ll leave all of that a surprise for you to discover on your own though. The Forge and The Casting are basically prequels that build up to the events of Metal. There’s a dark multiverse out there that wants to come into the light and they’ll do anything to achieve their goal. This dark multiverse is led by a mysterious entity and is having different, twisted versions of Batman do his bidding. The most sinister Batman of them all is The Batman Who Laughs, but I’ll get more into him later.
After I finished reading The Casting I started with The Red Death. This version of Batman is pursuing The Flash and is trying to steal his speed force. Why? Because his entire family was murdered and he wants the speed force to go back in time and save them. The Flash is trying to reason with Batman and things don’t end well for him. Batman becomes The Red Death and is a super dangerous version of the Flash. Can you imagine someone as smart and well versed in fighting as Batman having The Flash’s powers?
After The Red Death I read The Murder Machine. The Murder Machine is about another Bruce Wayne that eventually went to the dark side after the death of his longtime butler, Alfred. This Bruce Wayne was so close to Alfred that when he died he had Cyborg help him build an artificial intelligence in Alfred’s likeness. This Alfred was nothing like the human one though. He went on a huge killing spree and killed everyone he thought was a threat to Bruce. Batman eventually let Alfred in and the AI completely took control of his body. In the present day he’s battling with Cyborg and beats the living crap out of him. I… didn’t enjoy this one as much as the other ones, but I think it was still a good story.
After Murder Machine I read Dawnbreaker and this one is tied with my favorite story in this series so far. In Dawnbreaker Bruce Wayne never became Batman after his parents were murdered. He became a Green Lantern! What did he do with these powers? He murdered everyone! Seriously… he killed everyone. After avenging his parents by forcing the green ring to commit murder it corrupted the ring. Batman’s will to kill was so strong he let darkness consume him and ring and he became something else entirely. It’s an awesome story and it’s one I hope gets expanded on in the future because I loved this version of Batman… er… Bat-Lantern!
The Drowned is up next! This version of Batman isn’t a man! Bryce Wayne lost the love of her life and she spent her life fighting crime and believing in good. You know… the usual shit. But when Atlantis and the surface world went to war it was up to her to stop them. She never believed in the peace talks and when things eventually went to shit she led the charge. She experimented on herself and made herself like an Atlantean. I really enjoyed this book and the portrayal of Batman in this world. I really like that she’s pretty much an evil Aquaman that has all of his, and Mera’s, powers and can beat them both… because she did.
After The Drowned I read The Devastator. In this book Batman finally beat Superman. He didn’t want to do it though. The Superman in this world had tricked everyone for years into believing he was the ultimate force for good. That he was symbol, a boy scout, the ultimate good guy. It was all an act. One day he showed his true colors and murdered everyone and only Batman was left standing in his way. Batman beat Superman by injecting himself with Doomsday blood, or something like that, and he became a version of Doomsday, but kept his intelligence. This story, just like everyone above, is taking place both in the past and present. I loved getting to know every Batman’s backstory and why they’re doing what they’re doing. This one is no different, but it is one of my least favorite stories of the bunch.
After Devastator, I read The Merciless. In this book Batman and Wonder Woman are a thing and when Wonder Woman died fighting Ares, Batman put on Ares helmet and became the new god of war. And he pretty much went to war with the entire world. This book had a nice twist at the end of the story, but you can actually go without reading this one. This book, while good, isn’t nearly as good as the book that comes next and is one of my least favorite stories in this series.
Last, but not least, is The Batman Who Laughs. This story is incredible. Where do I start? This story starts off with Batman talking to someone, but we don’t know who it is. He’s telling us a story. His story. And it starts off with him being tortured by the Joker. Joker has won. He’s destroying Gotham and murdering countless people and Batman is helpless to stop him. After witnessing Joker murder a family in the same way his was murdered Batman finally snapped… and killed the Joker. When Joker died toxins released from his body and entered Batman. Batman is infected with the same shit that was running through Joker’s bloodstream and it’s slowly infecting him. You could see what was happening because when Superman made a comment about never losing hope Batman laughed. Let that sink in for a moment. Batman laughed. Batman never laughs. This book is so damn good that I want to start reading The Batman Who Laughs series. This version of Batman is fucking evil and he’s done some dark shit. I love it. And I want to read more.
And that’s it. That’s all I’ve read. I think this series is fantastic so far. I still have a lot to read though. I haven’t even touched the main story yet. I’m still reading through all of the side stuff. I wanted to get to know the villains before getting into the meaty stuff. None of these stories are very long. I think the longest one was 35 or 36 pages, but they’re very interesting and some of them I hope get their own spinoff comics that take place in their own world. I want to see a dark Bruce Wayne as a Green Lantern go on a murder spree until he’s finally found out. The interesting thing is is that none of these versions of Batman, except Bat-lantern, started off evil. They had morals, friends, family, and was good until something made them go down a darker path. That’s what I really liked about these stories. Every version of Batman had a reason to do what they did and you can easily picture the Batman that we know doing something similar if he lost his mind.
Dark Nights is a really good series so far. I’m glad I started reading it and I doubt I’ll put it down until I read every issue. I’m going to buy the deluxe edition that comes with all 6 if the main story issues. I’ve decided that I want to buy a physical copy of the book to add to my collection instead of getting it on Comixology. If you’re looking for something different to read or if you’re just a Batman fan in general I recommend giving these stories a chance. They’re different, but I think they’re really good and I can’t wait to read the last two books.