The second volume in the Paul Dini/Alex Ross superhero anniversary tribute – this story is about Bruce Wayne as much as it is about the Batman. It continues the meditation on the idealistic tragedy of the superhero story, but it’s all the more potent here, as Bruce Wayne gives up the safe quiet normal life Superman could never have, in order to fight the good fight. Like the first in the series, the art is realistic, captivating, utterly gorgeous.
During a routine back-alley catch of a robber/murderer, Batman finds a youth, Marcus, having just witnessed the death of his parents, which drudges up memories of his own difficult past. When he finds Marcus a second and third time on the streets, having no other options for money and security than crime, Bruce joins the fight alongside Batman. Together they save a small neighborhood, by night-fighting crime and establishing a presence, by day opening a mill for the creation of legitimate jobs.
This is an intimate story, with limited action, and no specific psychopathic adversaries. Our true enemy is the system by which we let people decay into helplessness, forced into desperate measures. It’s a small battle in Batman’s war on crime, but maybe the small victories can serve as a catalyst for the larger. As with the first in this series, the idealistic romanticism is ripe for the picking, but the rough, gritty resolution of Bruce (reminiscent of old-fashioned hard-hitting Dick Tracy) balances the warm fuzzies with admiration and pity for Bruce’s tragic struggle.
Recommended for all fans of the old-fashioned Batman, and as an easy entry into his world for those new to the comic book genre.
Photo-realistic, dark, exquisitely beautiful and powerful. Thank you Alex Ross.
“I know I am fighting a war I can never completely win.”