Review: Batman: Dark Age #2

Batman: Dark Age #2
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Michael Alred
Color Artist: Laura Allred
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Review by Carl Bryan

Welcome to Batman: Dark Age #2. Guilty as charged.

When a young and aimless Bruce Wayne finds himself incarcerated, he looks for a way to shorten his sentence and return to his charmed lifestyle. Little does he know, signing up for a tour with the army in Vietnam will change him forever. No it’s not Sergeant Rock over his platoon… introducing Sergeant Ra’s al Ghul!

Mark Russell, and Mike Allred return to give audiences a look at Batman as a figure in American history fighting for justice in a world gone mad.

Life is like a movie where the first half is all love stories, fight scenes and car chases. And the second half is about a man taking naps. Maybe that is why so many people insist on living in the past. It is just there life is kept. – Bruce Wayne”

Scrambled Eggs of Characters…

Wow! To reduce the sentence for his behavior, Bruce is introduced to General Sam Lane… yeah, Lois’ Dad… or is it? The author has scrambled the eggs of the characters to really rewrite this new glimpse into Batman’s history. Prison or Vietnam… apparently Vietnam was the lesser of two evils.

To make things even saucier, Lucius Fox even wants Bruce to not come back from this mission. Turns out everyone may be better off without this entitled version of Bruce being around.

Good thing that Ollie and Clark are in this universe as well

It’s a Bird.. It’s a plane… It’s nothing!

Mark Russell really plays some cards in this issue as he places some DC pillars in the book; Superman’s mentioned, Lois is on the beat, and Green Arrow/Ollie Queen’s right by his side. However, Ra’s al Ghul as a military presence is pretty grim and we see that he handles his command post like he does in the regular timeline. While we only get a shirt time on these teases, it’s enough to keep us interested that Russell may be able to develop this Dark Age into its own universe.

War Changes Everything…

Finally a shred of reality that sinks in, as Russell portrays Bruce as a Vietnam War Veteran. The fact that he doesn’t want to leave Wayne Manor and is more comfortable at night than at day speaks volumes about what war can do to our returning soldiers. If anything, these few pages really speak to the plight of veterans.

Way to go in both remembering, shining a light on, and also really contributing a new source to the legend of how one can become Batman!

Conclusion

A new costume origin, Alfred’s back in the picture, and banter from Bruce that’s more akin to what are used to from Robin! Holy Fight Dialogue, Batman!

Gordon’s still the trusted face of the police force and Lucius Fox still is the brains behind the tech! Russell has made his mark and tweaked this storyline in the right direction. Let’s see if there’s enough gas in his Batmobile to make it last!

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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