Crossposted at The Bibliosanctum
This book is a series of mini-arcs giving a glimpse of a world where Bruce Wayne’s Batman doesn’t exist. It asks: “What kind of ripples would’ve been made in the world if Bruce had been the one to die in that alley and not his parents?” Initially, I read “Batman: Knight of Vengeance,” and that was it. That's all I wanted to read, I said vehemently. However, I finally decided to dive into the rest of the story and see what Bruce’s death changed beyond his parents lives.
In “Batman: Knight of Vengeance,” Thomas Wayne has taken on the mantle of the bat, and he is far more brutal, unforgiving, and decisive than Bruce. While Thomas subscribes to hyper-vigilantism and toes the line of being crime boss, Martha’s response to Bruce’s death is far more extreme than Thomas’. This story was heartbreaking in so many ways. From the Waynes to Selina to Commissioner Gordon, it was so poignant and painful to read. I have to say that this is my favorite story in the book.
“Deadman and the Flying Graysons” answers the questions of what happens to Robin (Dick Grayson) if there is no Batman. Dick’s parents live and they continue to tour with the circus. However, Aquaman and Wonder Woman war violently with each other, and the circus travels through war-ravished Europe, eventually finding itself on the receiving end of Wonder Woman’s fury. This was an okay story. Loved the basis for it with Wonder Woman and Aquaman’s war, but it wasn’t fully realized, in my opinion.
“Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager” follows the dread pirate Deathstroke who plans to profit off the turmoil that Wonder Woman and Aquaman have created, but first, he has to rescue his daughter, Rose, from his rival. To do any of this, though, they have to sail to Aquaman’s angry seas. What could go wrong there? I liked this more than I thought I would to be honest. It made Deathstroke very likable.
The last story “Secret Seven”… was maybe a little beyond my frame of reference. All I know is that a team is being formed to deal with the chaos on earth. I don’t want to call it a terrible story because it wasn’t… I don’t think. I just don’t have much experience with the character(s). It was a little offbeat, which I definitely don’t mind, but because I don’t have any real point to fix these characters, too, it was just… I’m not really sure how to describe it to be honest. I had way too many questions after reading this one, and I blame this on my ignorance of the characters.
Some would argue that these stories have no real connection and deal so little with Batman, but I disagree. They show that Batman, Bruce’s Batman, is both a blessing and a curse to the villains and heroes of the DC universe. It shows how his existence/non-existence shapes that world in broad terms. For instance, many of the villains lead drastically different lives. Some of them are already dead by Thomas’ hand. Some of the heroes are hardly what you’d call heroes at all. I do think that there needed to be more meat to this. The idea of what the world would be like without Bruce Wayne is a very fascinating question that this series only half-answered. However, I still mostly enjoyed this book.