Batman: Overdrive is published by DC Comics, written by Shea Fontana, illustrated by Marcelo DiChiara, with colors by Hilary Sycamore, and letters from Corey Breen. Adding to DC Comics’ excellent series of YA and children graphic novels, Batman: Overdrive follows a young Bruce Wayne on his journey to process the grief of his parents’ death before he took up the mantle of Batman.
Outside of his martial arts class, Bruce Wayne has been practicing his fighting skills on the streets of Gotham taking down petty criminals. But with his 16th birthday right around the corner, Bruce has his sights set on getting his license and taking his father’s beloved ’66 Crusader out for a spin. However, when he finds the car in disarray after being in a wreck year prior, Bruce takes it upon himself to restore the classic vehicle. After teaming up with Mateo, a local teen working at a junkyard, Bruce builds his first Batmobile in hopes of taking down a mysterious cat-like thief and the rest of Gotham’s underbelly.
Batman: Overdrive’s version of Bruce Wayne is obsessed with solving his parent’s murder and getting his freedom. When the shooter in his parent’s death mysterious died prior to the trial, Bruce became convinced something more sinister was at play. However, Alfred has thawed nearly all his attempts to get to the bottom of the case. Because of this, Bruce doesn’t think particularly highly of Alfred even going so far in early panels to call him his jailer.
Bruce’s treatment of Alfred is painful to see and makes him come off as ungrateful and spoiled. In this retelling, Bruce is a teenager but there is always a fine line between making a troubled teen seem lost as opposed to just whiny and rude. Because of this, the majority of the book is hard to read because Bruce is so unlikeable and selfish. He has very few endearing qualities. Outside of Bruce, the plot is just not interesting. That being said, someone who has a passion for cars could very well adore it. But this is also a children’s graphic novel and not many seven-year-olds are restoring muscle cars in their spare time. To further put it in perspective, I adore the Fast and Furious movies despite knowing nothing about cars but I cannot be anything but bored when reading Batman: Overdrive.
Additionally, DiChiara’s art is interesting but not my personal style. Some of the character’s faces just come off as wonky and I am also not a fan of the character designs. Selina Kyle’s hair is almost a mullet and Bruce Wayne strangely resembles Jake Long from American Dragon: Jake Long, the Disney Channel cartoon from 2005.
Batman: Overdrive is made for children but unlike Fontana’s other work for children, DC Super Hero Girls, this graphic novel isn’t enjoyable for adults. Bruce Wayne is too whiny and even for a superhero comic, the setting and overall plot just aren’t believable or engaging. It is hard to make car theft and the intricacies of building a vehicle fit with Batman or Bruce Wayne’s story. Even with the brightly colored and interesting art, Batman: Overdrive is just boring.
Batman: Overdrive is available now everywhere comic books are sold and online.
Batman: Overdrive is made for children but unlike Fontana’s other work for children, DC Super Hero Girls, this graphic novel isn’t enjoyable for adults. It is hard to make car theft and the intricacies of building a vehicle fit with Batman or Bruce Wayne’s story. Even with the brightly colored and interesting art, Batman: Overdrive is just boring.