Review: Batman: Knight of Vengeance 3
Batman: Knight of Vengeance is better than Flashpoint. I guess I should give Flashpoint the benefit of the doubt, since there is one issue left, but screw it. I’m going to be unprofessional and say right now that Batman: Knight of Vengeance is one of the best works of short fiction done for a event and a fantastic rendition of an Elseworlds Batman. Prior to this, I have never been curious what would happen if Thomas Wayne was Batman, and now I find myself curious about possible further adventures. Brian Azzarello ends his three issue arc in a way where a continuation wouldn’t really be viable, though leaves the reader mostly satisfied.
In spite of tendency for three issue series to be over stuffed or complete fodder, Azzarello produces some amazing work that is not only engaging but ties into the main Flashpoint series. The bond between this side-story and the main event is unobtrusive, and you could read this series without knowing about the event. What surprised me was how the connection leads to the conclusion of this series and provides a horrifying response, almost on an existential level. It answers the question, how would Bruce’s parents respond if they knew he was Batman.
Here’s why it’s better than the main Flashpoint comic. Simply, more things happen that have an impact. The final issue is mostly flashback, but given in such a way that it feels like we are learning key information about Thomas Wayne’s life. The final battle between Batman and the Joker isn’t a physical brawl, it’s a psychological duel through which there is character development and discovery. I have learned fairly little about the Flashpoint world from the Flashpoint comic, and by comparison, the main comic only riffs banter without touching any of the characters. It’s the difference between a superficial and almost forced story, and one that is meant to give us insight.
Knight of Vengeance has great contrast between the flashbacks and the present thanks to the colour work. Modern day has somber tones of black, red, blue and green (the colours of Batman and the Joker) while the past is the neo-noir black, white and red. The latter is a tried formula, but it fits the Gothic horror themes. Russo creates good renditions of Thomas and Martha Wayne and I thoroughly enjoyed the layout style of the comic. The layout parallels the present day story and the Waynes’ past. The line art wasn’t particularly great, and there were some rough spots, but all in all, Eduardo Russo was a great partner for this story.
Batman:Knight of Vengeance is a fantastic read for anyone interested in either Flashpoint or Batman. I put this story on the same level as Mark Waid’s Spider-Man: House of M, which is my personal favourite tie-in story. One of the first that I read that actually changed my perspective of the character in that universe. Azzarello in this three issue series balances out relevance and insight, in a way even its father series, Flashpoint, can’t.