REVIEW: ‘Batman Black and White,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman Black and White #3 is published by DC Comics, written by John Ridley, Bilquis Evely, Bengal, Tim Seeley, and Nick Dragotta, with art by Oliver Coipel, Bilquis Evely, Bengal, Kelley Jones, and Nick Dragotta and letters by Deron Bennett, Aditya Bidikar, Gabriela Downie, Rob Leigh, and Rus Wooton. While the previous Batman Black and White issues focused squarely on Batman in his many traditional forms, this issue mostly gives Bruce Wayne the night off and looks at some other representations of Gotham City’s Dark Knight. And to be fair, Bruce could probably use the rest.

These include possible future timelines. If there is one thing comic series love is showing what could be for our favorite heroes. And often, these are some of the best stories. If for no other reason than the plot armor our favorite characters are wrapped in falls away allowing heroes to die and others to rise in their place.

Batman Black and White #3 looks at some possible futures for the Caped Crusader and the legacy he will leave behind. While some incarnations of Batman will be strikingly familiar to current readers, others wholly new. The thing they have in common, aside from the bat on their chest? They are all interesting.

The most familiar Batman in this anthology opens this book. As the story begins, we see Batman has been captured by a group of fanatical ex-penguin thugs who are motivated by their hate and bigotry. As one takes a crowbar to Batman’s face, the mask eventually breaks to reveal that the man behind the cowl is black. Readers of the Future State: The Next Batman series will instantly recognize Tim Fox as the titular hero.

Once freed from his shackles by the timely arrival of an ally, Batman quickly turns the tides on his former captors. During this scene, we get a running internal monologue from Tim about the struggles with dining the iconic costume. How some days, it feels like it was a mistake. While others, other days are better.

While every entry in Batman Black and White #3 is a unique take on the character, none caught me by surprise as much as the story Legacy. Written and illustrated by Dragotta, this story takes place in an apocalyptic future where Batman is driving a giant mecha and fighting grotesque monstrosities. Yeah. That’s a sentence I wasn’t expecting to write when I woke up today.

While the numerous different Batmen that grace this book all deliver something interesting, there is one story that features the original Dark Knight. And it is easily the most impactful one of the set.

Unquiet Night written by Seely and art by Jones tells the tale of Batman in the future. Bruce seems a bit confused as he makes his appearance in the story. But with a little help from Zatanna, Raven, and The Demon Etrigan, he will quickly be on his way. For you see, Batman is dead.

Zatanna’s discussion with this returned Batman and the look that the story takes at the nature of Batman’s relationship to Gotham is both heartfelt and interesting. The art delivers the perfect balance of the dark place the story occurs in, as well as the emotion that weaves its way through it.

Taken all together Batman Black and White #3 manages to not only hold up the high quality of its predecessors but also carve out a unique place for itself by turning its gaze away from the more iconic version of the character.

Batman Black and White #3 is available on February 23rd wherever comics are sold.

'Batman Black and White,’ Issue #3
4.5

TL;DR

Taken all together Batman Black and White #3 manages to not only hold up the high quality of its predecessors but also carve out a unique place for itself by turning its gaze away from the more iconic version of the character.