Batman: The Merciless #1 Review

Batman: The Merciless #1 Review By John Saavedra Dark Nights: Metal continues with a look at yet another Batman from the Dark Multiverse. This time, we meet the Dark...

Batman: The Merciless #1 Review

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By John Saavedra

Dark Nights: Metal continues with a look at yet another Batman from the Dark Multiverse. This time, we meet the Dark Knight from Earth -12, which has been completely obliterated by war between the forces of good and evil. In this nightmare reality, Batman and Wonder Woman teamed up for one last battle against the God of War Ares.


As all the other “Dark Knights” tie-in stories before it, Batman: The Merciless deals with loss. All of the nightmare Batmen in Barbatos’ army have been driven mad by loss and death. The stories seem to say that Batman is only kept in check by those he loves. His loved ones are what allow him to keep his humanity. But were they all to die, Batman would become a monster once and for all.


On Earth -12, only Wonder Woman is left to fight by the Dark Knight’s side. Unfortunately, she dies in the fight against Ares, which pushes Batman over the edge. No longer beholden to those he loved, Batman breaks his one rule and vanquishes all of his enemies. By the time the Batman Who Laughs arrives to recruit him, this Batman has become the new God of War.


Writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Francis Manapul also get to play around with tons of other characters in this issue. With the Justice League all but defeated, the Earth’s secret organizations have no choice but to launch a counterattack that might kill millions of innocent people. As you might expect, having ARGUS, Task Force X, SHADE, and the like under the same roof leads to some pretty fiery conversation. It’s a lot of fun to see some of these cameos. There’s even mention of Frankenstein, which I hope means he’s going to show up to fight the Dark Multiverse at some point.


While Batman the Merciless isn’t the most interesting of the Dark Knights introduced so far — I’d say the Man Who Laughs, Red Death, and the Dawnbreaker take the cake at the moment — he is absolutely monstrous and he bears one of the most interesting character designs out of all of the villains in this event.


Unlike some of the other “Dark Knights” one-shots, Batman the Merciless doesn’t quite come off as sympathetic in this story. He is driven by power — which he does hope to use for good at first — and not the loss of Wonder Woman, whom he falls in love with during the war. Ultimately, The Merciless’ story isn’t as emotional as those that have come before.


Only two “Dark Knights” one-shots remain, Batman: The Devastator and The Batman Who Laughs. Overall, these tie-in issues have been enjoyable, if a bit redundant at times. Now that we know where these villains come from, and why they have decided to become killing machines, it’s going to be so much more fun to watch Batman and the Justice League finally kick their butts when the time comes.


Batman: The Merciless #1 Review

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Artist: Francis Manapul

Letterer: Tom Napolitano

Cover: Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson

Publisher: DC Comics


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