Batman: Creature of the Night #4 is published by DC Comics, written by Kurt Busiek, with art and colors by Jean Paul Leon and Todd Klein. Bruce Wainwright struggles with his connection to the supernatural Batman he has become, but even as he struggles, he finds nothing he does seems to amount to anything. He fears he is being manipulated and that there are people in the shadows trying to control him. But who? And what is their plan for Bruce Wainwright.
Batman: Creature of the Night #4 sees the conclusion to this slow-burn horror tale of an alternate Batman. Having taken two years for these four issues to get released it is understandable fans would have high hopes for a quality wrap up. Sadly the plodding story presented here may fall short of those expectations.
The biggest thing that hurts this story is its size. Busiek comments in a little “behind the scenes” piece in the back of the book that they wanted to make the finale a little extra length to say thank you to the fans for their patience. While the thought is a nice one, it feels like those extra pages were really unnecessary. More does not always equal better, unfortunately. And unlike my recent reading of Tales from the DC Dark Multiverse: Infinite Crisis, this book doesn’t use its extra length nearly as well.
Bruce Wainwright spends the bulk of Batman: Creature of the Night #4 struggling internally with the many external, and internal, forces pulling at him. While this is understandable given the circumstances he finds himself in, the whole endeavor lacks any real sense of tension or threat. Ultimately Bruce has a choice to make. Whether he chooses to overcome his darkness and let go of Batman or allow his life to continue to spiral out of control is completely up to him. This lack of clear outside interference within Bruce’s struggle makes the whole situation wearying after a while. Despite Busiek’s excellent work at making Bruce’s anguish feel real it just goes on for too long.
The highlight of Batman: Creature of the Night #4 is Robin. As she struggles to reach out to Bruce, her concern always feels truly genuine. Her anguish and frustration are palpable and instantly relatable for anyone who has had to watch someone they care about seemingly self destruct.
The artwork goes a long way to creating the classic horror tones of the story. Leon’s images try as hard as they can to help create the feeling of tension that the book tries to convince the reader of. But in the end, just like the writing, it cannot maintain its holds for this extra-long story.
While the attempt to support the tension may ultimately fail Leon’s color work does help keep a feeling of variety throughout the issue. It would be easy enough to bathe the whole issue in dark sinister tones. But instead, a well thought out balance of light and dark scenes are used to augment the darkness of those truly dark moments while also producing a feeling of variety for the story.
In the end, Batman: Creature of the Night #4 presents the story with a satisfying conclusion. Even if it takes too long to get there. Bruce Wainright’s story is an interesting take on the concept of Batman and I hope DC continues to let their creatives flex their muscles with more of the classic characters in similar ways.
Batman: Creature of the Night #4 is available on November 27th wherever comics are sold.
Batman: Creature of the Night #4
In the end, Batman: Creature of the Night #4 presents the story with a satisfying conclusion. Even if it takes too long to get there.