21 September 2007

Batman: In Darkest Knight (DC, 1994)

Back in 1989, DC published a non-canonical book featuring Batman in Victorian-era Gotham hunting down the serial killer Jack the Ripper entitled Gotham By Gaslight. Written by Brian Augustyn and pencilled by Mike Mignola, it was the first 'ELSEWORLDS' book (though it wasn't labelled as such) to come out from DC's offices. The Elseworlds imprint enabled DC to come up with "alternate-worlds" stories for their characters without messing with the fanboy/girl minds about how it all fits in the DC continuity. Because that's what comic fans do. We may not be able to organise our personal lives but Goddammit, we want our favourite fictional stories to be in the proper order, mmm-kay?

Gotham By Gaslight proved to be so successful that DC was churning out Elseworlds stories like it was going out of fashion. A few were actually quite good but inevitably, most were just dreary. Batman: In Darkest Knight was one of the dreary ones. Yeah, this book is definitely not a good read. God, it was all kinds of awful and it was written by Mike W. Barr who does not worship at the altar of Awful Writing, I'm sure. Maybe he needed some quick cash that day and wrote this shit up over the weekend.

In short, it could be called, "What if Bruce Wayne became Green Lantern?". Instead of Hal Jordan, Abin Sur's ring found a despondent Wayne sitting in his manor trying to figure out how to give some whup-ass to criminals without getting his ass whupped in return.

Now, empowered by the Ring, Bruce.....aw, the hell with it...here's the *cough* plot: Wayne as the new Lantern of sector 2814 is ordered by the Guardians to go to Korugar and detain rogue Lantern, Sinestro. Sinestro is banished to Qward, gets a Yellow ring, goes back to Gotham, figures out who this new Green Lantern is, kills Jim Gordon, kills Joe Chill, gets an outfit that makes him look like the Joker with Spock ears and Sinestro then turns Harvey Dent into Two Face.

Meanwhile, the Guardians are not pleased that Bruce refuses to follow orders. So they appoint three individuals as new Lanterns to bring down Wayne (or to help him, I can't figure out which. Eh.): Clark Kent, Barry Allen and Queen Hippolyta.

They fight Sinestro but the bad guy escapes. Bruce goes off to space to chase him. The End. Oh yeah, Sinestro kills Alfred.

Apparently, this Green Bat is now part of the DC canon after what happened in 52 so they're re-releasing all the Elseworlds books which had characters who will appear in the upcoming Countdown: Arena hullabaloo. Lantern Batman, Gaslight Batman, Commie Superman...they're all gonna be there. But even if you're a Batman and/or a Green Lantern fan and you never picked up In Darkest Knight, please don't start now. The problem with this book is that there's nothing new here. Rehashing the histories of familiar characters and just adding a twist to them does not a good story make. Hell, even if you're not familiar with Batman's origin I still won't recommend this book.

Spend your money on the latest issue of Horny Biker Sluts
or something. 'Cause IDK is just a big yawn-fest.


MCF said...

Umm... I actaully enjoyed this book. Then again, I'm an Elseworlds whore and generally enjoyed most of them (although I steered clear of crap like The Justice Riders or Shogun of Steel).

Khairul H. said...

I think whenever they mix two heroes together (Batman as Green Lantern), the stories go down the drain at least for me. Thankfully there aren't many of those. There's another one: Speeding Bullets which features Superman but as Batman. It's been years since I've read it. Plan to read it again soon but I fear it may be crapola. I don't know. We'll see.

Elseworlds stories are good when they feature supers in other times: Batman in 19th century Gotham, Superman in Cold War-era Soviet Union. It's the characters we know, only in different times. Those stories I enjoy.

So, yeah. Maybe it's just me.

collectededitions said...

Might just be you (said nicely); I liked Speeding Bullets and In Darkest Knight more than most Elseworlds, maybe because it was a more familiar mix than old and new. And the recent feud Hal Jordan and Bruce Wayne had is interesting, in light of Darkest Knight.

If the Speeding Bullets Superman and the Darkest Knight Bat Lantern met, now there would be a comic!

Khairul H. said...

Hey,it's collectededitions guy!

Yeah,I guess it is me, heh. Like I said in my first comment above, when they twist the origins of familiar characters, I just can't find the love for it.

Definitely different strokes for different folks.