Comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis teams up with artist Nick Derington for the 2020 DC Comics ‘Batman: Universe,’ a collection of the six-part series.
Vandal Savage hires the Riddler to steal a mysterious item known as the Fabergé egg from the Gotham Museum. Batman gives chase, but as soon as he gets his hands on it, the item sends him a time travel adventure. Along the way, the Dark Knight works with Green Arrow, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Jonah Hex, Nightwing, and a host of other characters to stop Savage before it is too late.
Nick Derington’s illustrations are superb. His art style matches the tone of the story and he does a good job fleshing out the story. That goes for the pages and the covers. Each issue is done with great attention to detail. His designs for Hawkworld and Nightwing are particularly cool. I liked how he did the character designs as they worked well with the tone.
This series essentially serves as is an update of the classic Batman team-up series ‘The Brave And The Bold’ which saw Batman would partnering with various DC Universe heroes. It would later serve as the basis for an animated show.
I have to admit, I did not know what to expect when I heard Bendis was taking a shot at the Caped Crusader, and yes, he has a unique take on the Batman, but I thought it was refreshing. The Dark Knight is a lot less menacing than we have seen from in modern writers and focuses on his skills as a detective.
My favorite scene was in the second issue, where we Batman facing off against the incredibly overrated Green Arrow. I will not spoil the fight, but I did enjoy it.
Now, I will acknowledge that the story is incredibly random. From chasing the Riddler to visiting Hawkworld, to traveling to the Old West, and then nearly dying, it would seem to be a mesh, but it actually is not. Bendis brings the story together and makes it flow so well. I also liked how he writes the personality of Bruce Wayne. While he is dark and serious, he likes the harshness that has been forced on us by modern writers like Tom King, even having a sense of humor.
I am not a fan of Bendis’ other work with DC Comics, but overall, I did enjoy Batman: Universe. While he has written complex characters in the past, he had not done anyone like Batman. Personally think he did a good job keeping the Caped Crusader a dark character while not draining the humorous side of Batman. He maintained the balance, giving it excellent writing, character development, and some brevity to what we have been seeing in modern Batman comics.
Should Bendis take over full time? No, but this miniseries is a good start for DC Comics and it is a shame they are tossing it aside in favor of draining Batman of all nuance.
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 reviews of Ninety Four and Feast Or Famine. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.