Batman: Damned by author Brian Azzarello, Illustrations Lee Bermejo
Batman: Damned is a 3 book limited run that kicks off the DC Black Label. DC’s answer to even darker and even more brooding.
Batman: Damned is one of those incredibly frustrating books that is all flash with no substance.
The art is gorgeous. Let’s get nothing wrong about that. It’s stunning, creepy, detailed, and shocking. It’s everything I want to look at with a darker comic book.
And this one certainly aims to be dark. It’s violent, edgy, brooding, and well, Batman. Add Constantine into the mix and you have Batman with a sarcastic devil in hell on earth. And somehow, it’s still boring.
The reader kind of glides along in a fugue state trying to follow the ethereal art and gothic poetry lines scattered along the pages. It’s pretty, it’s dream like, but it’s meaningless.
Throughout all three books not much of anything actually happens. We get some flashbacks that may or may not be real depending on how much hallucinating is going on and we get some guilt trip dreams but nothing much actually occurs.
By the end of the story we see that any deaths that have been portrayed will not stay permanent and therefore have no meaning. Additionally, any lessons that were learned will be negated.
The book might work for a younger audience who is trying to step out of the mainstream and feel edgy without actually being dangerous but it didn’t really work for me.
It’s got some creepy monsters and Constantine doesn’t follow your rules baby! So you know, teenager stuff. But if you’re looking for substance you’ll have to search elsewhere.
As much as I loved the art I didn’t care much for Harley Quinn‘s design.
Too zombie Marilyn Monroe for my taste, but that’s just my opinion.
But the reason that you’re all here is that you may have heard that this is the run of Batman in which his penis is out. That is true.
I am lucky enough to have gotten a hold of the early print of the run before the censors got crazy and took out the only remarkable thing this book had going for it. Batman, totally naked.
Let’s not get crazy, I’m not going to show it here because I don’t want to get labeled as not suitable for work. Also, makes me feel special if I’ve seen it and other people haven’t. Not gonna lie.
But I will say that it is tastefully done. Batman is in the solitary shadows of the Batcave, stripped of his armor. He’s pure muscle and battle wounds and looks both powerful and vulnerable at the same time. It’s honestly quite well done.
And I’m always for equal opportunity nudity! Which is good since Harley and Zatana show quite a bit of skin in this one but we actually see more of Bruce Wayne and that’s nice for a change.
Unfortunately, seeing The Dark Knight’s long arm of the law is not enough to make this book worth more than just flipping through the pages to see all the pretty pictures.
2/5 bats 🦇🦇
For more Black Label DC (that’s absolutely stellar) check out Harleen.
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Buy it here: Batman: Damned