Review: Batman: City Of Madness #3

“City Of Madness” – Book Three
Writer/Artist: Christian Ward
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Review by Steve J. Ray

A child, who witnessed his father’s murder by a criminal, has traveled to Gotham City in an attempt to kill the killer. Now, that child has been taken in by the Dark Batman from Gotham below, who wants to train the damaged youth to be his Robin. This is where we come into the vibrant, brilliant, Batman: City Of Madness #3.

I have to take my hat off to Christian Ward. This series is one the best looking I’ve ever seen and his script has matched the art in terms of excellence, from the first page to the last. Issue #1 began with a letter from Alfred to Bruce and we get the payoff from that in this excellent finale… along with the origin of Gotham Below and its extremely Dark Knight.

City Of Madness stands up as a terrific Batman tale in its own right, but can also be added to the list of classic sagas that have given fans the storied, dark, and troubled history of fiction’s most famous Asylum. Yes, this includes the legendary Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth, by Grant Morrison, Dave McKean, and Gaspar Saladino; the tale that Mister Ward cites as one of his inspirations.

This saga has given us a driven, unstoppable Batman, an extreme level of threat, villains galore, and more surprises than most utility belts could handle. The fates of the citizens of Gotham Below deliver a gut punch and the actions of this universe’s Harvey Dent blew my mind.

The last few pages may raise eyebrows and confuse/annoy some “fans”, particularly with what’s happening in the main Batman title right now, but if any comic book character should be a descendant of Amadeus Arkham, it’s this one. I think this was a daring move by Christian Ward, but I applaud it. It contradicts nothing that came before (or is still happening) and fits DC history. Well done, Mr. W.

Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is a star. This talent has shot up my list of favorite letterers ever over the last few years, and this series gives readers a shining example of why. Not only does he place Christian’s words on the page in a flowing, easy-to-read manner (that doesn’t cover up the stunning art), but some of his captions and sound effects, done in an insane/cartoony/crayon font work to add a feeling of nausea and insanity to the proceedings. Ward and Otsmane-Elhaou are a comic book dream team.

Conclusion

Batman: City Of Madness #3 is a fantastic issue, which isn’t a surprise as every chapter of this mini-series has been brilliant. Not only do we get a satisfying conclusion, but I’m sure that this saga will be loved and talked about for years to come. This is one of the series that I’ve been lucky enough to read before release, but also one I’ve bought as individual comics, and will also purchase the collected edition of (lots of sketches and extras please, Christian/DC Entertainment!).

I highly recommend you do the same.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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