I know that writing about a series, weeks after it’s been published, will not boost clicks to this website. But I have to give credit, where credit is due. Batman. Knight of Vengeance, in my onion, was the best Flashpoint tie-in of them all. But it’s not just a good tie-in, it’s an excellent elseworld tale that can stand on its own just fine if you don’t know anything about the world of Flashpoint.
Let me set it up for you: Issue one shows Batman, with some small visual tweaks to his costume, without his Batcave. Instead he operates from one of his Wayne skyscrapers. He’s the same brooding vigilante that we know and love, and we get so see him take Killer Croc down. But here’s the catch; this isn’t your daddy’s Batman, this is Batman’s daddy. Instead of Thomas and Martha Wayne getting shot by Joe Chill and Bruce donning the cowl to strike fear in the hearts of a ´cowardous and superstitious lot´, Bruce gets shot. He dies and it´s Thomas that sets out to stalk the dark alleys of Gotham city in a quest for revenge. As cool as a concept as it is, this much was given away in the first issue of the main Flashpoint series. So overall, back when I read the first issue I thought cool premise, good art, but otherwise nothing really special. Well, that changed in the last two issues of this series.
The first issue ends with the Joker kidnapping the children of district attorney Harvey Dent at Wayne manner. The second issue shows how James Gordon goes in before Batman and some horrible shit happens both to Gordon and one of the kids. The great, big and very unexpected reveal cliffhanger here is that the Joker is someone very, very familiar to Thomas. Than the last issue, they fight, run around and ultimately forget about the kids.
That’s one of my (very minor) problems with this series. In the second issue, it looks like one of the kidnapped kids bites the dust, but in the last issue Batman finds out he can still save her. Sadly, he is so busy with the Joker that him saving the kids (I’d have guessed that that’d be the most important goal here) is not shown in this series. In my opinion, they should have spent a couple of caption boxes explaining how the kids ended up (or killed them off earlier).
I’m trying not to spoil anything, so take it from me that this has some solid, lean, atmospheric writing by Brian Azzarello. The art is outstanding too. Again, very atmospheric and while it’s Eduardo Rizzo’s unmistakable unique style, it is also remarkable cinematic. Great dramatic camera angles are used very effectively to enhance the tension. Also some visuals, especially the looks of the Joker and Jim Gordon, seems inspired by Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
So, while this can be perfectly read without any knowledge of the Flashpoint series, the question whether or not Batman should pick a fight to change reality back to where Bruce lives instead of his parents, plays heavily in to this. Giving this series that extra bit of emotional punch, while also incorporating it into the events of Flashpoint. So for a good, short, standalone Batman series, look no further then Flashpoint. Batman. Knight of Vengeance.
Issue 2: Art: 9 Writing: 8.5 Overall: 8.7
Issue 3: Art: 9.2 Writing: 8.2 Overall: 8.7