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When DC Comics (An AT&T/Warner Media Company) announced their new imprint for adult and out-of-continuity stories called "DC Black Label" many people were skeptical of its potential. It didn't help when the first book under the label Batman: Damned got pulled from shelves, because someone at DC forgot to give proper shadows over a scene of naked Batman in his cave, showing him in the nude. But DC isn't backing down now, because they're rolling out their big guns that they've been teasing ever since the announcement of the special collector's imprint. For over a year, the writer of the best selling Batman New 52 series Scott Snyder and the artist of the that series, Greg Capullo, have been teasing their secretive project together, a "What if" comic of the last Batman story ever told. Released on May 28, 2019. This is start of the death of Batman.
The End Is Here.
The surreal first chapter of this mini-series takes us through many places like a bad trip. While reading this, you can tell that Scott Snyder is not only at the peak of his skill, but also at a point where he can write his own story with no compromise, you can already tell that this poignant and psychedelic story will be remembered as an innovative classic. The story begins when Batman is investigating strange markings left behind Gotham city every night, he finds that the marking forms an outline of a dead Batman. He goes to the center of the markings, and finds a very young child that's not moving. Batman lifts the boy's umbrella, and sees that it resembles himself as a young boy, and that it's a corpse. A gun fires at him and he wakes up in Arkham Asylum, where he is greeted by none other than Jack Napier, the man who became his greatest enemy, The Joker. Alfred walks in and tells Bruce he was never Batman, and that this entire time he's been Batman have just been his insanity, and that he's been warping the Asylum employees around him into fictional villains. Alfred tells Bruce that he was the one who murdered his parents this whole time. Bruce can't accept that this has been his reality this whole time. He escapes his cell and Alfred gives up before he leaves the building. Alfred tells Bruce that Arkham Asylum is destroyed, and that he's been asleep for years. He woke up inside of a virtual simulation to ease him into the dark future he awoke in. Bruce says that he needs to find out what happened to the outside world, Alfred tells him that it's all over. The world has ended, and he should just give up and spend the last days on earth with his adopted father. But Bruce can never give up, so he leaves the simulation, and enters what was once the east coast of the United States, now turned into a mad max desert wasteland.
A World Without Rules or Hope
After finding the joker alive as a talking head, and stumbling across Wonder Women and a group of refugees in a cave who don't want to risk entering the anarchy wasteland outside, Diane tells Bruce about what happened while he was away. The tragic story of this horrible world is revealed. One day, Lex Luther convinced the planet that climate change, political struggles, and economic divide are all futile struggles, and that the time is now to rise up, and make up our own world ruled by anarchy. A world where there is only truth. A world where you only have to look after yourself, a world with no laws, money, or wait times. During the fall of man, someone rose to power in Gotham City who claims to have killed the ultimate god of evil, Darkseid, renaming himself " Omega," and claims that he will soon become the new ruler of earth, using his anti-life equation to control the whole planet. Most tragic of all is the fate of Batman. Diane breaks the horrible truth to Bruce. Bruce died during the fall. Batman let an angry mob into the Hall of Justice to show that there is a point in upholding justice and the law. They stole all of their weapons, and used them to kill Batman. The other heroes' fates are currently unknown, and Alfred used a Memory machine that Batman invented to bring the memories of Batman into someone else, that is how our current main character became Batman. So in his mind is all of Batman's memories, causing him to believe that he was always Batman.
The Last Story Ever Told Begins
Wonder Woman tells this new Batman that he should retreat with her and the refugees into the underworld where they will be safe from Omega. But of course, Batman never gives up. And he grabs Joker's talking head for companionship on his long journey ahead. A man alone in a fallen world. He may not have a plan, but he still knows that he needs to fight to bring back our world.
And with that, Issue Number one out of three is over. Scott Snyder is a madman at the top of his game. Combining horror, bad trips, heavy metal imagery, and magic into his stories like no other author out there. No comic book author or novelist comes close to his beautiful madness. Greg Capullo is also showing off what he can do with his pencils and pens. His artwork is seminal to the history of Batman. It's so sad to see that this will be their final Batman outing together. Capullo is the Todd McFarlane of our time, and Snyder is the Grand Morrison of our time. Make sure to mark your calendar for July 31, 2019 when Issue #2 of this crazy epic hits your local comic shops and Comixology. If you plan on purchasing the $5.99 physical book of Issue #2 make sure you're there on the day of release, as this series has been selling out rapidly. Issue #1 has already sold 113,694 copies, so it will be a very in-demand item.