Originally, DC Comics editor Mark Chiarello conceived of the idea for “Batman Black And White” in 1996. The first volume was released as specials, but volume 2, with the exception of five new tales, was collected from back-up stories from Batman: Gotham Knights #1-16.
Similar to Volume 1, there is not a single plot. Instead, it is comprised of twenty-one short stories. My favorite story, hands down, is “Case Study.” It is one of the new materials. Written by Paul Dini with incredible artwork from Alex Ross, the doctors at Arkham Asylum find a hidden file on the Joker. In this story, we hear a foundation origin for the character, but could it be just another joke?
Of the original content, my favorite is “Guardian” written by Alan Brennert with art by José Luis García-López. In this story, Batman meets the original Green Lantern Alan Scott, who once protected Gotham City. GL accuses Batman of being too violent while Batman sees the Emerald Knight as having abandoned the city. However, they are forced to work together.
My least favorite is “Batsman: Swarming Scourge of the Underworld” written by Marie Severin with art by Ty Templeton. It is meant to be a parody of Batman. It makes fun of him scaring Commission Gordon, how he’s a loner with a ton of sidekicks, and Catwoman is in the background stealing things. The problem is, it is not funny. They overdo several jokes and others just fall flat.
Like the first volume, I enjoyed these new and fresh takes on Batman. At times, when the comic book industry is pushing politically correct content, it is nice to flip over these older stories to find some gems.
The collection has a series of talented creators including: Chris Claremont, Steve Rude, Mark Buckingham, Kelley Puckett, Tim Sale, Steven T. Seagle, Daniel Torres, Warren Ellis, Jim Lee, John Byrne, Paul Pope, John Arcudi, Tony Salmons, Paul Levitz, Paul Rivoche, Walter Simonson, John Paul Leon, John Arcudi, John Buscema, Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Howard Chaykin, Jordi Bernet, Dave Gibbons, Bob Kanigher, Kyle Baker, Harlan Ellison, Gene Ha, Ronnie Del Carmen, Tom Peyer, Gene Colan, Tom Palmer, Alan Grant, Enrique Breccia, and the others I mentioned above.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my graphic novel reviews for Batman: Bane and Damian, Son of Batman. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.
This article was updated with new information.