Batman: The Dawnbreaker #1

by Hussein Wasiti on October 04, 2017

Writer: Sam Humphries

Artist: Ethan Van Sciver

Colourist: Jason Wright

Letterer: Tom Napolitano


This is the third one-shot tackling one of the Batmen of the Dark Multiverse. This issue, written by Sam Humphries and drawn by the legendary Ethan Van Sciver, is most definitely the weakest of the one-shots so far, mostly because it uncompelled me. The previous two issues hinged on the relationship between that version of Batman and whatever hero he was friends with. Seeing Batman damage the Flash and Cyborg is genuinely hurtful since we love these characters, but here he doesn't even interact with a mainstay superhero until the final few pages of the issue.


The crux of the story is also confusing to me. For context, a Green Lantern ring approaches Bruce Wayne moments after his parents are killed. The typical line follows, telling him that he has the ability to overcome great fear. Humphries prefaces this by stating that Bruce didn't feel anything after they died right in front of him. That simply isn't true. We're supposed to believe that these Batmen are the Batman we know but they fell into their tragedy rather than overcoming it or embracing it. Bruce is vulnerable and young, someone who's been severely traumatised according to Scott Snyder's run, or suicidal according to Tom King's run. This directly contradicts what we know about Bruce Wayne as a character, and why the ring would find someone so steeped in tragedy the moment their life began to fall apart makes absolutely no sense to me.


Out of all the current Green Lantern writers, the choice to go with Sam Humphries baffled me. Robert Venditti is doing mostly great work in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, as opposed to Humphries whose run on Green Lanterns has been unsuccessful in my opinion. He's leaving that book soon, so whoever thought he'd be the Lantern authority must have been confused.


Ethan Van Sciver is one of my favourite artists and I really enjoyed his work here. He and colourist Jason Wright really help sell the darkness of this issue, and the darkness that Bruce Wayne himself is becoming. Because of this, the art is understandably more muted and doesn’t pop as much as Van Sciver's work usually does. Despite this, his typical Dutch panelling is also present so the fact that this is a Green Lantern story very much comes across in the issue.


I've been enjoying the one-shot tie-ins, but I must recommend to skip this one despite how much I liked the art. The story just doesn't make much sense and I hope that the next few writers have a better grip on the characters than Humphries does.

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