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Review – Batman: Damned #3 (DC Comics)

Batman Damned #3
Overall
10/10
10/10
  • Writing - 10/10
    10/10
  • Art - 10/10
    10/10
  • Overall - 10/10
    10/10
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Summary

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Lee Bermejo
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Publisher: DC Black Label
Maturity Rating: Mature
Release Date: June 26, 2019

Who killed the Joker? What happened that night on the bridge? These questions and more are all answered in the epic conclusion of Batman: Damned #3. It’s an esoteric odyssey of ridiculous proportion.  

Batman: Damned #3 is the Best Batman Book of 2019

A blunt title, admittedly. But after just finishing Batman: Damned #3 I can’t mince words. It’s without question the best Batman comic book series of 2019. Perhaps one of the greatest of all time. Hallowed writer Brian Azzarello and former comic book wunderkind and art prodigy Lee Bermejo are an inspiring creative duo. The pair have conceived one of the most immaculately layered, complex, aesthetically stunning Batman stories ever heard of in the DC Universe. 

Writing

Batman Damned #3 (DC Comics) main cover by Lee Bermejo
Batman: Damned #3 (DC Comics) main cover by Lee Bermejo

Those not already familiar with Azzarello and Bermejo’s Joker should stop reading this review immediately. Go buy a copy right now. I’m serious. Batman: Damned #3 is dense and without the companion reading, those not already familiar with the story’s prelude may be left scratching their heads at times. Hint: as Joker ends, so too does Batman: Damned begin—with a fall! 

This issue is all about reconciliation. A purging of the Dark Knight’s soul as Bruce comes to terms with the actions of his past and the inevitability of his future. It’s a battle for his soul, both existential and extremely esoteric. With Batman: Damned #3, Azzarello has woven his proverbial Ninth SymphonyIt’s a book that readers can revisit time and time again, each reading offering a new perspective and insight. 

Since the news that Tom King is stepping down from his run on Batman, we’re literally in the midst of a real-life “Battle for the Cowl” situation. The mantle is vacant and Gotham needs a savior. Could it be Brian Azzarello? After his monumental work on Batman: Damned #3 and the series as a whole, he’s continuously shown that he’s the Batman writer we both need and deserve. 

Art

If Lee Bermejo had been born 540 years ago, he would have been the one to paint the Sistine Chapel. Not Michelangelo. You hear a lot of artists regaled as “unrivaled” or “without equal”. Well, we’re all just checkers on a chess board in comparison to Bermejo. His pages explode with the most realistic, raw, true-to-life renderings ever to land between the covers. 

It’s at times more like watching a movie than reading the panels of a comic book. Bermejo is the perfect mixture of raw talent and dedication to his craft. His art style is about the closest thing to the Platonic Form that we mere humans are ever likely to see. He’s relentless in his onslaught, delivering page after page of Bat-tastic perfection. 

Conclusion

This series is not an easy read. It’s weighty and best read as a whole. That being said, this is a book that rewards attention to detail. It’s positively littered with Easter eggs and a non-stop pleasure to read from start to finish.

My favorite thing about Batman: Damned is that immediately after I finished reading issue #3, I reread the entire series. It will both engage and enrage readers, and I can’t wait to witness the divide. More importantly, it pays homage to all the great accomplishments of the Batman universe over the past 30 years while simultaneously cementing itself into the conversation of “Greatest Batman Story Ever Told”. Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo have a classic on their hands, folks. Let’s just hope for all our sakes that they don’t decide to wait another decade before we get to read the next one. 


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Jordan Claes

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