The last we read the Batman: The Dark Knight, we were left with a shocking ending.
Batman’s girlfriend Natalya Trusevich had been killed by the Mad Hatter by being dropped from a helicopter onto the Bat signal that stands atop the Gotham Police precinct.
The ending of last issue had me on the edge of my seat. I was not expecting the Mad Hatter to reach that level of cruelty, and the image of Natalya lying dead atop the shattered Bat signal left me haunted.
This week brought the conclusion of this story involving the Mad Hatter. The tone of the story shifted drastically given the change of artists, going from Szymon Kudranski to Ethan Van Sciver. Kudranski, with his heavy uses of shadows, was great at developing a spooky atmosphere in the last issue. It really added an element of of darkness and suspense to the story, which complemented Greg Hurwitz’s script very naturally.
The change to Van Sciver shifted the tone to one that is not nearly dark of a style as Kudranski’s. Instead, Van Sciver brings a more energetic tone to the story than it had prior. While Kudranski really fit this type of story well, Van Sciver is an exceptional artist, and he serves the story well in his own way.
As for the story, without spoiling the ending, it ended the way a lot of revenge stories end. Nothing in this issue came as much of a surprise. Batman is hungry for revenge, and sets off to find it against the Mad Hatter. Meanwhile, Alfred is trying to talk Batman out of doing something he’ll regret via com link.
Even though nothing here came as a surprise, it does not mean there was not some pleasing moments. The writer Gregg Hurwitz allows Batman to cut loose while fighting, and therefore a lot punishment is inflicted on the villain. Also, the conventional ending is nice in that Batman has had a lot to go through lately, as the writers of Batman have put him through a lot of trauma across his various series, this one included with the death of Natalya.
The last scene comes as no surprise, but it is nice to see. The Dark Knight has his fair share of troubles, but it looks like he has put this latest one in his rearview mirror, and hopefully the series can continue without a ton of aftershock from this story arc’s events.
I like this series a lot. It is dark and gritty, and recently has put on full display just how bad even the secondary villains of Gotham are. This issue read fast, and was predictable. However, the ending of this story stayed true to Batman, and for that it deserves respect.