BATMAN ANNUAL #4 / Writer: Tom King / Artist: Jorge Fornes & Mike Norton / Letterer: Clayton Cowles / Colorist: Dave Stewart /Cover Artist: Lee Weeks / Publisher: DC Comics / Published: March 6, 2019
A Butler’s Perspective
This entire issue is eloquently narrated by Alfred Pennyworth in the form of a diary. Bruce Wayne’s butler and Batman’s greatest confidant: who better to portray the purest view of the caped crusader through this multi-part story? Inn the end this fulfills the cover’s promise of “A Batman Tale Like No Other!” and yet it is also a tale with which we are all familiar. All fans have a version of Batman we hold in our mind’s eye and dear to our hearts, and this single issue expresses many of them.
The Everyday Caped Crusader
Tom King (Mister Miracle), Jorge Fornes (Dr. Strange), and Mike Norton (Battlepug) have brought us a beautiful exploratory Batman story that shows all the genres in which this 80-year-old character can be. The artists channel some epic, full-on David Mazzucchelli Batman: Year One-style designs but go past the generic gritty stories that style usually inhabits. There’s everything, from Clue-esque murder mysteries with fully fleshed out one-panel characters to giant dragons. Also, this issue has the most past Batman creator references I’ve ever seen, including an awesome prom band called The Infantinos.
From rooftop horse chases to dragon slaying to beating up ignorant mixed martial artists to reconnecting with old prom dates to tons of other examples that explore the depths of this iconic character, this is a Batman story about what it means to be Batman. The answer is: whatever Batman needs to be.
This issue needs to go down in history as one of the best Batman stories ever because of this variety. It shows there are no limits to characters that have been around as long as Batman. Future creators can write the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, the World’s Greatest Detective, or even something completely new while still writing Batman. That said, this is a Batman story for everybody and articulates numerous concepts without breaking character. Worth a read.
Verdict: 5 out of 5