DC Black Label 2021
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Liam Sharp
Lettered by Rob Steen
Batman and Killer Croc face off against Croc’s murderous offspring in a finale that has to be seen to be believed. The World’s Greatest Detective closes the world’s strangest case.
Not that this is over and Batman’s full personality is on display and I have to say I’m somewhat shocked. The humour I had seen earlier was replaced with a much darker and shall we say less concerned about human life then I ever thought I’d see him be. I am by no means complaining because watching what he does with Volkov well that was funny to watch and then the reaction was a tad dramatic but the interchange was well worth it. The dark dry humour still permeates throughout the book as well and it’s exceptionally well placed so that you are either going to laugh, shake your head with a smirk or groan like you’ve heard a particularly bad dad joke. Personally I think that this being a Black Label title means they’ve got more leeway to take the characters in directions we don’t normally see and this naturally is a huge part of the line's appeal.
I am a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information are presented exceptionally well achieved. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter does a magnificent job spotlighting their ever evolving and changing personalities. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing more of the story the more we want to see how all this is going to play out.
I am extremely impressed with the way that we see this being structured as well as how the layers continue to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. I am also liking the way that we see the layers opening up new avenues to be explored. A part of me wishes we’d see the Government do what Batman asks if they are planning to do and what they have in store for Wayland because those would be things I’d love to see. What all this does is add some great depth, dimension and complexity to the story. The way everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how we see it move the story forward are impeccably handled.
The interiors here are mindbogglingly brilliant to see. They really do leave you gobsmacked at just how they make you feel. The mood, tone and feel of every given moment shines through on the page beautifully. The linework we see and how this brings about the attention to detail is sensationally rendered. The composition within the panels brings out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story wonderfully. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work show such a master colourists eye at work.
There are so many things that I wish we’d see the final outcome of but the fact that these avenues are left to the readers’ mind and imagination do a marvellous job in engaging the reader on so many levels. Aside from the fact that this is such a magnificently well written story with some exceptional characterisation and these bloody brilliant interiors this really embodies a Batman story that blends who we knew with who we know in some truly wondrous ways.