REVIEW: ‘Batman: Secret Files,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman: Secret Files #2

Batman: Secret Files #2, is published DC Comics, and comprised of five stories spanning 42 pages. “If the Suit Fits” is written by Andy Kubert, art by Amancay Nahuelpan, colors by Trish Mulvihill, and letters by Steve Wands. “He Helps Us” is written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, art by Carlos D’Anda, colors by Luis Guerrero, and letters by Andworld Design. “Alone” is written by Mairghread Scott, pencils by Giuseppe Camuncoli, inks by Cam Smith, colors by Tomeu Morey, and letters by Clayton Cowles. “Doctor of Psychiatric Medicine” is written by Steve Orlando, art by Eduardo Risso, colors by Dave Stewart, and letters by John Workman. “Alethephobia” is written by Tim Seeley, art by Patrick Gleason, colors by John Kalisz, and letters by Tom Napolitano.

The overall weight of this issue is the additional stories and the tie into Tom King’s current Batman series which was most recently reviewed by my colleague CJ with issue 74, and before that by editor and resident Batfamily expert Lizzy. While Batman: Secret Files #2 is a fantastic collection of one-shot stories. The main through-line with the issue is to highlight Banes’ go-to villain collective and how they’ve lost at the hands of the Batman.

Batman: Secret Files #2

The assemblage of stories focuses on the Joker, Pyscho Pirate, the Riddler, Doctor Strange, and Bane. It’s hard to review this in the depth I’d like as the five stories each shine a light on different elements, with an abundance of creators to discuss, however, three of the five really struck high notes for me.

“He Helps Us” was a brilliant reflection of cult style horror as the members believe they’ve been saved by the Psycho Pirate. The dialogue was cleverly done by Kelly and Lanzing, and the way the story circles back on itself shows there was a clear vision here. D’Anda, and Guerrero really compliment the message with the art and colors as we spin through themes of blind happiness and loyalty, dark hypnotic devotion, and destructive arrival of Batman as he leveraged his technology in an attempt to free the masses.

“Alethephobia” which is defined as the fear of hearing the truth, appears to be the direct tie in with City of Bane in Batman #75. The story takes place between two different time periods in Honduras at the prison where Bane was born, Peña Duro. Batman serves as the narrative plot point as he and Alfred swap details over the case. The story is a well-crafted contradiction from Seeley, given Bane has no fear, yet you can sense the panic that his past truths may finally come back to haunt him. There’s even connective parallels from Lois and Clark to Bane and the reporter, it’s quite masterful really. The artwork, colors and letters are all on point as they work fluently together to become a feast for the eyes from Gleason, Kalisz, and Napolitano.

From “Doctor of Psychiatric Medicine,” written by Steve Orlando, with art by Eduardo Risso, colors by Dave Stewart, and letters by John Workman.

Napolitano and Wands (“If the Suit Fits”) both really came to bat, no pun intended, for there particular stories, as they display a number of great ways to have the lettering really elevate their stories. Finally, “Doctor of Psychiatric Medicine” was a particular favorite of the group. Hugo Strange’s narrative underscores a terrifying brutal visual as five subjects dressed as Batman are held hostage in what I can only describe as “Saw” like death traps. Orlando creates a magnificent level of tension, with Risso’s art advancing the feeling to a squeamish degree. Workman’s lettering shone through in the brief moments it needed to but delivered perfectly and somewhat uncomfortably. The final two pages of this story, chef’s kiss. A brilliant one-shot with horrifying implications.

This is a bloody great one shot to pick up, with some amazing contributions from a number of different creators as they dip their toes into the world of Tom King’s villains of Batman. This is an easy purchase as it can be read as a standalone collection one-shot, or it will add value to the current King Batman run.

Batman: Secret Files #2
5

TL;DR

This is a bloody great one shot to pick up, with some amazing contributions from a number of different creators as they dip their toes into the world of Tom King’s villains of Batman. This is an easy purchase as it can be read as a standalone collection one-shot, or it will add value to the current King Batman run.