Batman: Creature of the Night by Kurt Busiek

details
Title: Batman.
Story-Arc: Creature of the Night.
Writer(s): Kurt Busiek.
Artist(s): John Paul Leon.
Colourist(s): JOHN PAUL LEON.
Letterer(s): Todd Klein.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: March 31st, 2020.
Pages: 216.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401280635.
My Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆.

thoughts

There’s nothing more reassuring than to imagine the world protected by our favourite superheroes. To know that somewhere out there, there’s a Superman or a Batman who secretly helps law enforcement take down the bad guys and keep us safe in our everyday lives. It’s only as we grow older that we learn that heroes might not come in the form of super-powered alien beings from other planets, that heroes are born out of an unselfish desire to help others, whether it’s by arresting criminals by wearing a legal badge or extinguishing fires that no one in their right minds would otherwise dare to confront. Unfortunately for one kid, his pure love for a superhero was envenomed by a devastating robbery that will trigger a chain of psychological events and turn him into an obsessive and mentally-ill boy. A spiritual companion to Superman: Secret Identity, writer Kurt Busiek attempts to explore a dark, twisted, and terrifying mind through a child’s love for Batman.

What is Batman: Creature of the Night about? The story follows a young nine-year-old boy by the name of Bruce Wainwright who happily indulges Batman comics, innocently viewing the world as the Dark Knight. It’s upon a horrific tragedy that strikes his parents that his life absorbs a dramatic shock that will turn his mind into a fragile territory for a nightmare like none other. Psychologically-devastated, unable to understand the unfairness of the world in which he lives and the lack of a Batman to help him avoid such tragedies, he desperately wishes that his favourite superhero would seek vengeance upon the people who dare steal his happiness, to cleanse his city of the evil and the corrupt for once and for all. Unfortunately for him, there was no one there to tell him to be careful about what he wished for, for now, a strange dark creature roams the night and there’s nothing he can do about it.

For this four-issue graphic novel to enamour the reader, there is one premise that readers will have to believe in: that the gazillion of coincidences found between the life of Bruce Wainwright (from his name to the insanely numerous number of characters who have similarities with Batman’s lore) and Bruce Wayne are original, striking, and plausible. If the constant attempt to link this character to Batman does not throw you off already, allow the writer’s attempt to reconstruct and explore the superhero’s personality and the universe to suffocate you with an unappreciative exploration of a superhero originally driven by sacrifice, justice, retribution, and hope. There is simply no love for Batman here.

This is a story that disapproves of the hero and voices a statement on the hero’s toxicity to people and society. The story also suffers greatly from the character’s obsession with fixing the unfairness that he suffers in his life. Many subplots are poorly developed and rarely ever manage to capture the reader’s attention by continuously bombarding the same ideas whilst building up the almost inevitable and obvious plot twist. There’s simply no moral to this story that could impress the reader beyond establishing that the idea of Batman is a delusional projection of our inability to protect ourselves from danger.

While the story might not have worked as well as I’d hoped it did, the artwork by John Paul Leon is quite remarkable. Channeling his inner David Mazzucchelli (Batman: Year One), he brilliantly draws Boston in the same vein as Gotham while capturing the darkness that it is engulfed in. The shadow work that is crucial to the storyline is also perfectly executed, allowing the story to bring out the dual-tonality that is often associated with the character. This representation of good and evil, through light and darkness, allows for an immersive experience that also gives us the opportunity to immediately understand the parallels between Bruce Wainwright and Bruce Wayne, beyond the obnoxious and obvious characters incorporated into the narrative.

Batman: Creature of the Night is a poor attempt to explore a fan’s love for Batman following a derivative tragedy that will send him down a dangerous path.


EXHIBITA
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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27 comments

  • Well, despite the fact that I think this book has a pretty interesting premise, it seems that the story was poorly executed and resulted in a not so good graphic novel. Shame really. The art does look good though, but well that’s unfortunately not enough to hide the fact that this is apparently not a really good effort😔
    That said, slightly off topic: seen the new Batman movie trailer yet? That looks pretty good I have to say! 😃😃

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really does! And I’m sure there are some who can overlook the issues I saw in it and still enjoy it very much for its dark and twisted take on Batman. I just wish it had attempted to do something differently.

      HELL YES, MY FRIEND! You have no idea how insanely hyped up I am about it and a lot of the recently announced DC stuff!!!! It’s going to blow everyone’s mind! Mark my words!!! 😀 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Isn’t it just? I think it is really going to be good, and that it might be the first time that DC is actually going to put up a decent fight when compared to Marvel. In fact Marvel is in trouble with so many movies and tv shows that have been put on hold. It seems like pretty much they are both on their starting point. I’m definitely excited for it too😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • Right? I’m tired of people looking down on DC movies post-Nolan. They aren’t complete garbage but they suffered immensely from trying to catch up to Marvel’s MCEU plan. Now, with The Flash movie, they clearly have a plan to fix that mess and start on the right foot and I’m all in for it! Time to get hyped up once again for Wonder Woman first though! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  • Love that scathing review, Lashaan! 😁 More of those, please!

    I’m actually surprised you still have it 2 stars – I awarded it 1, and that solely for art 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  • Mmmm so poor plot but brilliant art? Gosh you didn’t hold back anything Lashaan but such honesty is priceless! Excellent review as usual!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sounded like a premise with potential. Sorry to hear it didn’t pan out. The naming was quite brilliant though… Bruce Wain, right? So clever… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Oh, wow … never have I had such love for a piece of cover art (genuinely one of the best Batman covers I’ve seen) only for the story to sound so off-putting and lazy.

    Safe to say, I think I’ll give this, and the dozens of unbelievable coincidences a miss.

    Great review, Lashaan. Very well dissected 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Darn, I was quite interested in this as Busiek is normally reliable as a writer but seems the concept not only didn’t work but is actually an insult to our beloved Dark Knight! I like the sound of the Mazzucchelli-esque art (can we get more of that on the actual regular Batman books please, DC Gods?), surely the only thing this title has going for it. Great write-up Lashaan, another one I can avoid checking out haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, I think his take on Superman was much better conceptually than this one. Some might still enjoy this idea for Batman but man… I struggled to be impressed by all those “coincidences” forced onto us. Hahahah it would be such a huge move to go towards something more abstract and stylistic, almost old school after getting insanely talented “realistic” artists hahaha Thanks for reading, Chris! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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