Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose
|Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Really strong visuals help disguise the story's paucity of action, in this all-ages comic concerning the man who will be Batman – and the young woman prisoner who might or might not want to rob and murder him.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: October 2019|
|Publisher: DC Ink|
|External links: Author's website|
The young man called Bruce Wayne is a very noticeable one – he can hardly go anywhere without people – bystanders, paparazzi, and suchlike – reminding him he's a billionaire at the age of eighteen. Feeling rather stuck with the legacy he's inherited from his murdered parents, he wants to do charitable deeds. But one night, when he speeds off in his posh new car in pursuit of a criminal, he goes too far as far as the authorities are concerned, and gets given the most unlikely stretch of community service instead – cleaning in the home for violent criminals that is Arkham Asylum. There he learns of some other people who also allege charitable intent – the Nightwalkers, a gang who steal any ten-figure bank account contents they can, and murder the owner. Can he get close to one of them and get the truth of their schemes, or will the manipulative Madeleine be a step too far for the young do-gooder?
Yes, despite this being set very much in the modern day (hi-tech here and there, HUDs in cars, Robocop-styled police robots) this is Bruce Wayne before he trains himself up to become Batman. The story then doesn't feature any of the typical villains of his world – or at least not as villains. Instead it's a stand-alone adventure, with a young man a little tugged this way by hormones, twisted with the alleged anxiety of white privilege, and generally with a lot of 'finding himself' to do. Perfect, then, for this story – once a full prose novel – to be included in the growing teen-friendly DC Ink line.
Once again they have a great visual aesthetic, much in contrast with many of the allegedly more adult titles from the parent company. Here, everything is black and white, with the barest yellow for night-vision tech, and the gang's fluorescent graffiti marking their crime scenes. The art is fine – while it doesn't have that many action scenes to contend with, everything is fluid, well directed and appealing.
And the story is fine, if it does try to twist the 'is she good or bad' thread until it almost snaps more than once. Thinking about it, I can't remember a comic book franchise that has really shone in full-length prose, and while I don't know the original novel concerned here, it's at least provided for a comic that feels a natural fit for the format – not too bloated or wordy, nor too heavily truncated. You could see a version of this where it's played more broadly – the yin and yang of Bruce and Madeleine made blatant to all. Instead, we have a more subtly crafted piece, I think, and one that has qualities that audiences other than the target teenaged audience will observe happily.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
We encountered the original source for this with her novel Legend by Marie Lu. If you have an adult knowledge of Batman – something this DC Ink line is designed to let you do without – you might well already have your hands on Batman: Dark Knight III: The Master Race by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello.
You can read more book reviews or buy Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose at Amazon.com.
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