‘Batman: Dark Allegiances’ Elseworlds Comic Book Review

DC Comics takes the Dark Knight out of his normal continuity with their Elseworlds imprint in the 1996 one-shot Batman: Dark Allegiances. The story was written and drawn by Howard Chaykin.

The DC Database describes the plot as follows,

“It’s the late 1930s and daring industrialist Bruce Wayne masquerades as the Batman at night, fighting against crooked politicians and bigoted secret societies. The media spins his existence into an entire legion of Batmen, red threats against the American way of life. Along the way, Bruce is aided by his faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth as he is drawn into a web of blackmail and deceit involving beautiful film star Kitty Grimalkin, and uncovers a plot that might set off a world war.”

I really enjoy Chaykin’s artwork. His style is reminiscent of pulp magazines and the eighties hard boiled periodicals. He does that with this Elseworld and truly brings out the vibe of the era in a pre-World War 2 Gotham City. I also really liked his design for the batsuit. You can tell it influenced designs later on and it truly stands out.

The problem with this one-shot is the story itself. It has so much monologuing that it felt like a slog to read through it. This kind of surprised me as I have read Chaykin’s work and like it very much, but this is the exception. I felt myself getting distracted and even yawning as I had to chore through conversation after conversation.

There were also some bizarre choices. For instance, Alfred becomes Robin. The way Kitty learns about Bruce Wayne’s double life made no sense. Those are just a sampling of the weird plot points. I did not enjoy it as a “what if” on Batman and though it had potential, it ultimately drowned in too much dialogue.

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 the first issue of Goshawk and Falconet and the final issue of BRZRKR. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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