With the news that a Florida principal had to resign following people being upset that Michaelangelo’s David was considered pornography, it seems at one time there was an outcry over Batman’s penis in Batman: Damned, a darker story of the Caped Crusader for a more mature audience.
While Bruce Wayne’s wang was darkened for publications following the outcry, it feels that it was much ado to bring attention to one of the better Batman stories I’ve read. The graphic novel which is the first publication for the DC Comics’ Black Label reunites writer Brian Azzarello and illustrator Lee Bermejo after their 2008 Joker. It’s reportedly a loose sequel to that novel which took the Clown Prince of Crime on a killing spree as he wages war with Harvey Dent.
Damned focuses on the premises that The Joker may have been killed by Batman/Wayne who has no memory of it. He forms an alliance with John Constantine as he investigates what could have happened. There are also flashbacks to Wayne’s younger days when he was a child that paint Thomas Wayne in a more akin to the 2019 Joker movie. As Batman and Constantine go around Gotham City in Raymond Chandler fashion having interactions with Harley Quinn, who tries to kill him. He also interacts with Swamp Thing and the Enchantress.
But Batman begins to suspect that The Joker may not have been killed. A statue of Jesus at a church has been desecrated with the Joker’s smile and the Batsignal has been changed to show his smile. The book gives a different angle of the alley shooting of Thomas and Martha Wayne by Joe Chill that I won’t reveal that gives the novel a more supernatural feel.
While Azarello’s story is very gritty, the artwork by Bermejo tells a bigger story that makes every panel and page come alive. The dialogue contains more use of four-letter words and the F-word. While some may criticize this, it does give Batman more of a gritty realistic feel. Gotham City isn’t a kid’s playground. It’s a city of crime and decadence, so naturally a lot of people will behave in a more appropriate manner. I know comic book fans don’t like the dark grittiness of Batman but his life and the world Batman/Wayne lives in is a world of vulgarity and violence.
What do you think? Please comment.