BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 by Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
The issue is a great start for the Dark Multiverse spin-offs and we're excited to see what else is in store for the Red Death!
100 %
Twisted and Mesmerizing
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Finally, BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 has arrived, racing in from the Dark Multiverse! Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico deliver the origin of the Red Death. The first of many one-shots coming from DARK NIGHTS: METAL explaining the backstories of each Dark Multiverse Batman. The whole book is a non-stop brain blasting streak of terror. Enter the Dark Multiverse and prepare yourself for what happens when Batman steals the Speed Force from the Flash!

BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 Page 4
BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1: Dark Twists

BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 begins with an explanation of just how the Dark Multiverse exists. With every decision made, it’s said that a parallel universe is created. Now, what happens with every fear and bad decision that’s made? The worlds are created from a malformed, unstable nightmare of thought. Doomed from the start, these worlds are ticking time bombs waiting to explode from their corrupted core.

Read: Need to catch up? Check out our Review of DARK KNIGHTS: METAL #2!

The book begins at the Central City of Earth-52. Armed with the weapons of the Flash’s rogues gallery, Batman battles Barry for the power of the Speed Force. Barry refuses to give Batman the power, so Bats ditches the weapons and resorts to the Batmobile. Looking strikingly like the one from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, we see the Batmobile decked out with spinning blades as it fires down on Barry. This alternate and chaotic Batman seems to have lost more than his parents. At one point we’re shown four graves as an old Alfred and Bruce walk away. Presumably, the unfamiliar two belong to Bruce’s surrogate sons.

After freezing the Flash with a cryostasis injection — the same formula that keeps Mister Freeze’s wife Nora alive — Batman straps the Flash helplessly to the Batmobile as they race into the Speed Force. Tearing the two apart, they come out fused together as the Red Death! With Barry and Bruce fighting for control of their body, this will be an interesting addition to build on in this new line Dark Multiverse characters.

BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 Page 15
BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 page 15. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

 

Creator Talk — A Defining Collaboration

Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico are doing astonishing work so far teaming up on the contemporary Flash book. Now they’re given the opportunity to take the reigns of this Flash to bring forward some great elements into the Dark Multiverse. Williamson’s writing references CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS in the beginning, while smoothly explaining why and how these dark worlds exist. Also, seeing through captions how Bruce and Barry are fighting for control is a grim and brilliant way to show the conflict within the character.

READ: Want more racing death? Check out THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1!

Giandomenico’s art seems to excel more and more with each comic he produces. Page one is gripping as he forms a chaotic and twisted sludge of darkness. His generous nods to THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS Batmobile and even some mutants causing mayhem are fun and exciting. The distorted and much darker Gotham City that he draws is horrifying to see while the Red Death tears through it. He creates some epic new changes to Red Death’s speed force powers by running off and using bats instead of lighting. The twisted visuals of Barry and Bruce’s faces fighting to be in control are some of my personal favorites in regards to the artwork.

BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 Page 18
BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 page 18. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Grim Thoughts

Overall, BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 kicks off the one-shots with a truly dark introduction for these evil Batmen of the Dark Multiverse. It captures readers right away as well as gives a horrific and sinister plot laid out by this Batman of Earth-52. Williamson and Giandomenico have been a stunning team thus far, so their further contributions will be exciting to witness. The conflict that is going on within the Red Death will be interesting to watch as the Dark Batmen move forward with their plan. So, for more Red Death, keep up with DARK NIGHTS: METAL and the upcoming issues where they will dive into the lives of the other evil Batmen!

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