Review – Batman: The Red Death #1 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Script: Joshua Williamson
Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Release Date: 20th September 2017

Last week’s Metal #2 ended with that amazing cliffhanger of the demon Barbatos’ Dark Knights – a warped all-Batman version of the Justice League from the Dark Multiverse – and now we get the origin of the Flash character – The Red Death.

On the Dark version of Earth 52, the Crisis On Infinite Earths is destroying everything and Batman is at breaking point. Damian, Dick and all the rest of his family are dead, leaving him broken and desperate. Using weapons stolen from Flash’s Rogues, Batman incapacitated Barry in an effort to steal his powers and access the Speed Force himself. Needless to say, it doesn’t end well. In fact, the results are quite horrific, with Bruce and Barry fused into the one superfast body, but demented and really quite evil with it.

Normally these kind of spin-offs are very missable, but DC have made the smart move in having The Red Death made by the regular Flash team of Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico, meaning that it feels damn near essential, not just if you’re following Metal, but even if you’re just a regular Flash reader.

Williamson’ script is his usual tight and frantic pace, as we spend the first half of the issue seeing how far Bruce can fall, while the second sees how bad things can get after he does. There’s no happy endings here, this is some hardcore stuff, with The Scarecrow summing up just how different this new “hero” is.

As ever, Di Giandomenico’s art is simply stunning, mixing grit and horror with kinetic storytelling and rich imagery, aided in no small art by Ivan Placencia’s glorious colour palette. As much as this is a farm story of what might have been, the art team make sure that it POPS.

Okay, it’s not 100% essential, but Batman: The Red Death is an exceptional one-shot and a title you shouldn’t be ignoring. Go buy it. Now.

Rating: 5/5.

[Click to Enlarge]

JULESAV The Writer of this piece was: Jules Boyle
Jules tweets from @Captain_Howdy

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