batman annual #3

There are always Batman stories to tell. In the past month alone, The Dark Knight has been featured in a variety of tales ranging from those within his own solo arc to tumultuous adventures with the Justice League. As a result, it is safe to say that Batman rarely catches a break. However, BATMAN ANNUAL #3 from acclaimed writer Tom Taylor, gives Batman a rare breather, in more ways than one.

Firstly, the issue features a narrative that is not from Batman’s perspective but from that of Alfred Pennyworth. Through this storytelling choice, the issue reminds us how integral Alfred’s role is to Batman’s heroism. Most importantly though, it reminds us of Alfred’s relentless, undying loyalty to the boy he raised.

batman annual #3
BATMAN ANNUAL #3 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Bat and The Butler

BATMAN ANNUAL #3 opens with a flashback to the night of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s deaths. As aforementioned, Taylor depicts the flashback entirely through Alfred’s eyes. Prior to the deaths of the Waynes, Alfred had never expected himself to devote so much of his life to the Wayne family. However, on that fateful night, he made a decision, and that decision was to dedicate his life to ensuring Bruce Wayne’s health and safety.

BATMAN ANNUAL #3 does a fantastic job in establishing Alfred as a light-hearted, hilarious juxtaposition to Batman’s stoic nature. However, Taylor does not pigeonhole Alfred’s role in this issue to just a foil to Batman. Rather, he showcases Batman’s need for Alfred. In his own introspection, Alfred states that he has always stayed by Batman’s side because he believes Batman needs someone watching over him. Thus, Alfred does not sleep. He waits for Bruce to return home after his long nights out to ensure that he is healthy enough to continue his duties again the next night.

Therefore, what makes this annual so special is the way in which Taylor establishes Alfred and Bruce’s relationship. Alfred raised Bruce following the death of his parents. And, after all the years and all the long nights of waiting to see if Bruce survived another night of crimefighting, Alfred has not stopped caring for him. He has become a father to Bruce, and for that, Alfred Pennyworth is undoubtedly Batman’s greatest ally.

batman annual #3
BATMAN ANNUAL #3 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of BATMAN ANNUAL #3

The artwork of BATMAN ANNUAL #3 is absolutely impeccable. Firstly, I adore the way the colors transition from bleak, gray tones to warm hues. This transition ultimately parallels the nature of the work. In the beginning, we witness tragedy through Alfred’s eyes. We understand the toll The Waynes’ deaths placed on him. However, upon the end of the issue, we come to understand how raising Bruce lightened Alfred’s life simply through the vibrant colors.

With this, I enjoy Otto Schmidt’s penciling style. He implements so much detail into each and every panel. I particularly enjoy the sequence that depicts Alfred conducting a variety of chores to ensure Bruce’s needs are met from preparing the Batsuit to making Bruce’s bed. The intimate details, even if they appear simple or trivial, are what makes this issue so significant. Every simple act Alfred conducts contributes to another night of Batman saving lives.

These details ultimately give us a behind-the-scenes look at what Alfred does while Batman is on a mission. As a result, the imagery of BATMAN ANNUAL #3 brings us into the life of a character who has been an integral part of the Batman mythos.

What Lies Beyond

BATMAN ANNUAL #3 is a heartfelt issue, to say the least. Alfred Pennyworth is undoubtedly one of the most beloved characters in Batman’s comic book history. However, oftentimes, his role is overlooked. Oftentimes, his role is taken for granted. As a result, I greatly enjoy the focus and reverence Tom Taylor has given the character.

Alfred has been a father figure to Bruce and staunch ally to Batman, that is for certain. Therefore, it is only fair that Alfred gets a day off, especially on Father’s Day.

BATMAN ANNUAL #3 by Tom Taylor, Otto Schmidt, & Troy Peteri
BATMAN ANNUAL #3 is a wonderfully crafted, introspective look at The Dark Knight's most loyal ally.
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