Batman: Creature of the Night #3 Review

by Michael D on April 18, 2018

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: John Paul Leon
Publisher: DC Comics

            It’s been quite a while since issue #2 dropped, in fact, it was last year. That’s a bit of an absurd delay but after reading this issue; I’m reminded why the wait is worth it. This is another spectacular issue. The idea of batman existing in a world much like or own is fully realized. In this issue, we are also finally introduced to some answer about the true nature of this Batman. I found it a bit disappointing, not really fitting with the rest of the tone the book has set up.

            It’s been a while but last issue ended with the revelation that the Batman isn’t entirely good but instead impacting the real world to make life better for Bruce. This Batman isn’t driven by a sense of justice but rather to protect Bruce. Luckily, Bruce is still naive enough to believe in superheroes and is driven by that same sense of justice. He’s decided to be more careful and responsible with the Batman entity. There are still no super villains in this universe, instead he tackles organized crime. It’s not even flashy organized crime but rather ambitious loan sharks. He quickly discovers that, in the real world, when one crime boss is arrested, another takes his place. Or they might even just pull strings from behind the bars. Vigilante justice isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

           There is a sense of disillusionment within Bruce. Not just with the lack of results but also with the Batman’s purpose. He throws himself into finding the origins of the Batman. The supposed origins of the Batman are revealed but I found it a bit disappointing. The Batman was more effective as a mysterious presence rather than what we got. I don’t want to spoil it but it felt a bit out of tone with the rest of the book as well. Luckily, Bruce’s attempt to unravel the mystery allowed some great self-reflection.  Despite grappling with the Batman, he’s still has very human issues. He struggles with his place in the world and how his own morals seem at conflict with the morals of the world. No matter how much Bruce wants his world to resemble a comic book, it doesn’t work that way. This conflict reaches it tipping point with a revelation that breaks Bruce. Again, I don’t want to spoil the book but hearing Batman scream “You don’t deserve him” was a real high point. It’s all handled very well and with a sense of purpose.

            Bruce and Batman are the highlights of the issue, and as a result, the side characters are pushed to the side. Uncle Alfred is such an interesting character. Seeing the events of the book unfold from his viewpoint really added another layer to the story and unfortunately that’s missing here. Meanwhile, the character Robin just seems to be there to poke fun with the Batman mythos without adding anything. These are very minor complaints. Again, John Paul Leon does some incredible work. He continues to impress. I don’t have much to say that hasn’t already been said but this is some career defining work.

           Batman: Creature of the Night is an incredible story. A simple concept has been handled so thoughtfully and with a surprising amount of depth. The creative team is on fire, creating an Elseworld tale that can stand proudly alongside other greats. I have no doubt they will stick the landing.


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