Batman: The Merciless #1

by Hussein Wasiti on October 25, 2017

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Artist: Francis Manapul

Letterer: Tom Napolitano


This is a very oddly paced issue. I love Peter J. Tomasi with all my heart but it seems there wasn't much of a story to tell here, as it was dragged out by including Steve Trevor and numerous other heads of organisations, including General Lane and Amanda Waller, among some other nice surprises DC fans would love. I was really intrigued by the Merciless, this Ares-infused version of Batman who essentially becomes the God of War in his universe. All the other Dark Knights were corrupted by a certain personality trait or general desire, and here it seems to be power that corrupts Batman. As I said, it's intriguing, but it's not delved as deep as I was expecting, certainly not as much as the other one-shots have provided, no matter their overall quality. All the other one-shots had a tinge of horror and a twisted story to them that really helped sell the aspect of their universes being very dark versions of our characters' universe, but here the Merciless' story comes across as simply more tragic or sad than dark, even when that reveal is played up during the final few pages.


The real star of the show here is Francis Manapul. By far one of the greatest artists of our time, he consistently impresses me with his work. However, due to the story's insistence to provide significant insight into the government's reaction to all this, much of his work depicts simple conversation between characters that shouldn't be in this story. Despite my enjoyment and appreciation of some smaller characters coming into the fray once again, especially fans of the Geoff Johns era of GREEN LANTERN, I needed to spend more time with the main character in order to truly understand their motivations and perspectives on what's happening.


While the scenes not including the Merciless lagged a bit for me, every other scene involving his backstory and the methods he uses now that he's the God of War really brought me into the story. Manapul does a great job with the numerous character designs, especially those of the Merciless and the Batman Who Laughs. He also does his own colouring and much of the colouring work was supremely stupendous. The first page in particular really draws you into the story.


This isn't the strongest issue of the series of one-shots, but it looks absolutely beautiful, save for the instances where Manapul had to draw boring scenes not involving the Merciless Batman.

Our Score:


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