BATMAN THE MURDER MACHINE #1
In a quest to save Alfred the Bruce Wayne of a dark world goes too far in BATMAN THE MURDER MACHINE #1 from DC Comics. Frank Tieri establishes the backstory of the digital Dark Knight amidst the chaos of the Barbatos invasion. Cyborg and his father, Silas Stone, are discussing protocols to aid the Justice League when Cyborg is attacked on the Watchtower. The battle of technology between The Murder Machine and Cyborg rages as we flash back to how this dark version of Batman fell so far. With Alfred murdered at the hands of his villains Bruce Wayne enacts the Alfred protocol, a hyper vigilant AI that quickly gets out of control and murders all of Batman’s foes and any who it views as a threat. Batman eventually gives in a merges with the psychotic AI to become The Murder Machine and accepts the invitation from Barbatos to invade Earth-0. For Cyborg and this father the face of a digital Batman might be the last one they ever see.
After the amazingly good BATMAN THE RED DEATH my hopes were sky high for this next look at one of the Dark Batmen and I can safely say those expectations have been met! Frank Tieri kills it, literally, with his dark opening as readers learn that the Batman of this world was unable to save the man who raised him. Instead he was captured by Bane and the others and physically beaten until death. A demise so horrific an open casket could not be used for his funeral. This begins a dark road that leads to the creation of The Murder Machine and the death of a world. Tieri revels in the darkness in this issue. The Murder Machine as a character is so far gone, so detached from humanity, that his brutality is perfectly unsettling to the reader. He exists to cause pain, nothing more. As he forces Silas Stone to listen to the dismemberment of his son the reader becomes fully aware just how high the stakes of this event are and what true evil looks like.
Art from Ricardo Federici is breathtaking, especially the somber almost black and white flashback panels that show the death of Alfred and the events that lead this version of Bruce Wayne to his own cybernetic hell. Cover to cover the issue looks fantastic and the final pages are flat out creepy and almost hard to look at. From the rendering of a torn apart Cyborg to the grotesque look of The Batman Who Laughs, Federici’s haunting style is perfectly suited to this story. BATMAN THE MURDER MACHINE #1 is another hit, that is two in a row for DC Comics tie in one shots that are absolutely must buys. We have sold out already as of this article posting so if you were not able to get a copy from World’s Coolest Comics we will order one for you right away!