Do you remember those prestige-format mini-series or one-shot publications that were all the rage back in the mid-to-late 1980’s and then the 90’s?
I remember that time very fondly, especially as that comic book format gave rise to a whole host of great Batman tales that were, for the most part, out of continuity explorations of the character. They were darker, more sophisticated stories for a more sophisticated audience. I, like many others, still reach for all-time classics like Batman: The Cult, The Killing Joke and, of course, The Dark Knight Returns, regularly.
And then there were the hardcover graphic novels like Night Cries and Arkham Asylum, painted and beautiful, if harrowing, representations of Batman.
These were all stories written and illustrated by the best of the medium – legendary names like Alan Moore, Dave McKean, Frank Miller, Bernie Wrightson, Grant Morrison and Brian Bolland, among many other fabulous creators.
Today has me with that feeling once again – the anticipation of something different, something riveting, something special, something…slithering.
Today sees the release of Batman Reptilian #1.
Written and illustrated by long-standing comic book luminaries, Garth Ennis (Preacher, Hellblazer, The Boys) and Liam Sharp (Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern, Gears of War, Testament, Judge Dredd), Batman Reptilian is a six-issue series proudly wearing the DC Comics Black Label banner. That means it’s going to be a darker affair and certainly not for the faint of heart.
Something even more frightening than Batman is stalking the criminal underbelly of Gotham City. It’s something primal, savage and monstrous and Batman must use all of his skill to solve the mystery of the beast that strikes fear into even his greatest rogues!
Yes! All of those famous villians make important appearances in this story: from the Penguin to Deadshot; Hugo Strange to Two-Face; Tweedledum to, well, Tweedledee; to the Joker. They all live in fear of the creature that hunts them!
Under Ennis’ sure hand, Batman Reptilian turns towards Gotham’s dark and horrifying maze of crime, dirt and corruption and it’s at a depth that even Batman himself rarely navigates. The artwork by Sharp is phenomenal. He’s an artist that has grown so much in the last five years, spreading his artistic wings with freedom and fervor, giving us an iconic Wonder Woman that stands amongst the greatest pantheon of her long list of storied illustrators, as well as the defacto 21st century version of Hal Jordan in a two-year long, silver=agey romp in The Green Lantern monthly series. Here, Sharp is dark and moody and mysterious, his artwork reminiscent of the previously mentioned Arkham Asylum graphic novel, but still completely heroic and still completely Sharp.
This is a special Batman story, birthed by two creators using all their powers to fashion something truly unique for readers of Batman and the comic book medium.
Make the run to your local comic bookstore today and pick up Batman Reptilian #1 and slither yourself to a comfortable chair to read it’s uncomfortable – and completely thrilling – story.