BATMAN: THE RED DEATH #1
The story behind the first of the Dark Knights is revealed in BATMAN: THE RED DEATH #1 from DC Comics. The Flash creative team of Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico bring us the story of a Bruce Wayne who has lost it all. The world of Earth -52, as in negative 52, has seen the entire Bat-family fall. Obsessed with his vow to never let that happen again Batman takes it upon himself to steal the speed force from the flash by literally strapping him to the hood of his car and forcing his way into the speed force itself. The result is his emergence as the Red Death, a Batman infused with super speed and the voice of Barry Allen forever stuck in his head. He escapes his dying universe via the promise of Barbatos and brings his own brand of terror to the Central City of the DC Universe.
BATMAN: THE RED DEATH #1 is such a creative piece of storytelling in that incorporates so many facets of DC lore. Joshua Williamson has really outdone himself in this issue, it is nothing short of amazing. I am not the first one to have this thought but the -52 Earth feels a lot like Frank Miller’s world from All Star Batman. This Bruce Wayne in unhinged and partakes in gleeful mayhem just like Miller’s and there are a lot of visual call backs in the art that make it seem like it is that world. From the Bat-tank to the Killing Joke quote, it is these layers of depth that make DC Comics a treasure trove for long time fans. The Red Death is broken in a fascinating way and if this is any indication of things to come the remaining Dark Knights origin issues are going to be a blast to read.
Carmine Di Giandomenico has really gone above and beyond with quality and creativity in this issue. There is one panel in particular where in he channels Jim Lee by drawing a Batman grinning from ear to ear as he brings the full might of the Dark Knight Returns Bat-tank down upon the Flash. Another stand out is a stunning sequence wherein Batman tears into the speed force with Flash strapped to the hood of what looks like the Tim Burton Batmobile. The panels featuring Barry Allen’s face angle back and fade as he is burned before our eyes in a striking series of pictures that really set the tone for how far this Batman will go. BATMAN: THE RED DEATH #1 is a hit and a must read. This is a not an event tie in that can be skipped.