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Dark Nights: Batman The Merciless Review

Cover by Jason Fabok

Written By Peter J. Tomasi

Art by Francis Manapul


By Matthew Iung

When A.R.G.U.S, S.A.D.E, the D.E.O, Amanda Waller and General Lane have all gathered under an uneasy alliance any reader of DC comics know that the world must be ending.

Right away the first thing a reader is going to notice is that this is a book featuring Manapul and like so many of the man’s comics he opens with a bang. This particular issue opens on earth negative twelve with the death of Wonder Woman in Batman’s Arms. We then cut hard to the conference room full of the head of organizations listed at the opening. They are then barge in on by the Merciless. From there the standard ensures there is death, conquering, and a whole lot of brooding.

This is a really beautiful issue and Tomais brings a heartbreaking story to the character. We find out at the end of the issue that this version of Batman who now has long white hair and is missing an eye. Killed Wonder Woman when she attempted to take Hades helmet once Batman puts on the helmet he becomes the god of war. We also come to find out that regardless of his actions he did love Diana and misses her now. That does not, however, redeem him and it doesn’t seem as if he is interested in redemption. As always the Dark Knights show up to ask if this newest evil and warped vision of Batman will join them. In this issue, Grant Morrison’s Multiversity makes an appearance and can be seen in the arms of one of the little vampire Robins.

The Merciless is cold and cut off from the world, he is encased in a suit of armor that takes Batman’s isolationism to an entirely new level. The character also wields a sword and can be seen holding a head at one point or another. It’s a fun thematic element to have the Merciless go after this war room with Diana already being incapacitated. There’s is a moment where this Bruce walks over and his narration says “get quote”. This is a touching moment and there are several of these throughout the book. Making Tomasi’s reveal at the end all the more shocking and horrible. 

In my recent memory, I can’t think of a specific time during the New 52 era that Batman and Wonder Woman has been an item. This is a subtle and not so subtle thing, to capitalize on for the purposes of a one shot. Verdict, Read. This issue has a solid story and Manapul’s spectacular imagery is always worth looking at.


Matthew Iung is an English major at Concordia University in St. Paul, MN, and he serves as an Editorial Assistant for the Los Angeles Review of Books. His publications have appeared in Concordia's newspaper The Sword as well as DM du Jour. Matthew is…

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