REVIEW: ‘Batman Black and White,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman Black and White #2

Batman Black and White #2 is published by DC Comics, written by Tom King, Sophie Campbell, Gabriel Hardman, Dustin Weaver, David Aja, and Corinna Bechko, art by Mitch Gerads, Sophie Campbell, Gabriel Hardman, Dustin Weaver, David Aja, Ramon Villalobos and Stjepan Sejic with letters by Clayton Cowles, Troy Peteri, Todd Klein and David Aja. Just as with its predecessor, this issue serves up an extra-long collection of short Batman stories, delivered in classic black and white.

With each of these black and white issues I read, I have come to appreciate how much certain styles of Batman story lend themselves to this design choice. While it may feel like an obvious connection with both black and white narratives and Batman having deep connections to the film Noir style, it really sinks in as you take in these stories. Especially since each one takes a strikingly different approach to the style. But even though each of these pieces has its strengths, there are two standouts I want to take a deeper dive into.

The first is a story titled The Unjust Judge. King writes this piece, and it was the one that I honestly had concerns over when I saw King’s name in the credits. Not because he doesn’t know how to write, but as the man is best known for his slow-burn 12 issue maxi-series, I was curious if he would deliver a satisfying short story. Happily, he is a many of numerous writing talents; it would seem.

The story sees Batman desperately trying to save a priest who is trapped beneath a collapsed church. As Batman struggles to reach the man, he uses the man’s singing to guide him. The words of the song are both uplifting and heartbreaking within their context here. Once Bruce reaches the man, he discovers he cannot move him. As he prepares to go for help, the priest asks him to stay with him instead. Batman’s odds are long to rescue him anyway, and the priest does not wish to die alone. The ensuing conversation between the two is one of the most powerful moments I have ever read in a Batman story.

As is generally the case, King’s superb writing is augmented by long time creative partner Gerads. The amazing artist’s work translates to the black and white aesthetic marvelously. None of the emotion or power of this story’s moments are dimmed in the least.

The other stand out in Batman Black and White #2 is a story titled The Devil is in the Details. Done completely by Aja, this story is formatted to resemble the old weekday, black and white comic strips. In it, Aja tells a perfectly paced tale of a series of occult killings plaguing Gotham. The heavy nature of the story is captured with amazing weight through minimalist art. It is a story that is heavy on mood and efficient in its storytelling. And the final punch lands perfectly.

When it is all brought together, Batman Black and White #2 delivers a flawless collection of short stories featuring everyone’s favorite Caped Crusader. While I’ve only highlighted two of the book’s tales, each brings uniqueness and strength well worth checking out.

Batman Black and White #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

Batman Black and White #2
5

TL;DR

When it is all brought together, Batman Black and White #2 delivers a flawless collection of short stories featuring everyone’s favorite Caped Crusader. While I’ve only highlighted two of the book’s tales, each brings uniqueness and strength well worth checking out.