Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Batman: Nightwalker gives us an origin story for the Caped Crusader that we didn’t know we needed – even if it doesn’t feel like the dark, gritty Batman we know from the Dark Knight or the comics. Bruce is an eighteen-year-old boy who is still trying to figure out who he is in a world where his parents were murdered when he was a child and he has just come into their vast fortune. He struggles to figure out how to live up to his parents’ legacy and finds himself in a dangerous situation.
If you go into this book expecting Batman, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed. This is a teenaged boy who is realizing that he wants to do more for his city and is coming to the conclusion that Bruce Wayne might not be enough. This book is his real origin story and Marie Lu brings his transformation back to its roots. We meet the boy who will one day become Batman, not the man we are familiar with as the Dark Knight.
I really enjoyed getting to know young Bruce in this story, although Alfred certainly stole the show. You could feel the bond that they had with one another, which translated so much more authentically than some of the other relationships in the story. I felt that Diane and Harvey were a little underdeveloped in the story, so I never really formed a connection with them. I really enjoyed the little cameos from characters we’re familiar with and the characterization of people that we know are much more important in the Batman mythology in later years.
Superhero books are definitely difficult to write because they’re so action heavy and as a result, visual, but I feel that Lu managed to capture the kinesthetic nature of the book well. She definitely delved more into Batman’s detective nature, which was really nice because we don’t see that as often as his fighting bad guys schtick. If you’re interested in seeing the detective Batman dig into mysteries and try to foil a criminal organization than you should enjoy this book – just don’t expect giant action-packed fight scenes.
I have really enjoyed the DC Icons series thus far because it brings the characters we’ve grown familiar with back to their roots. They’re teenagers who are still figuring out who they are in the world, regardless of their future superhero journey. They are fragile and unsure, yet with a thirst for justice that one day will allow them to grow into the superheroes we know and love.
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