Review: Batman: The Drowned #1

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artists: Philip Tan and Tyler Kirkham

 

Summary

Bryce Wayne, the Batman of the gender-reversed world of Earth-11, attacks the Amnesty Bay of Earth-0. Aquaman and Mera quickly arrive to stop her attacks, but find she’s more formidable an opponent than they first believed.

Flashback to the past of Earth-11, the Atlanteans and surface humans have never quite reached the uneasy, yet peaceful relationship of Earth-0. Bryce Wayne goes to extreme lengths to ensure she is capable of decisively defeating the Atlanteans when war did come.

Like the other evil Batmen, the Batman Who Laughs approaches Bryce and gives her an offer she can’t refuse.

Batman the Drowned 1 - DC Comics News

Batman the Drowned 2 - DC Comics News

Positives

The cover artwork is done by Jason Fabok, whose artwork continues to impress me more than any new artist out there today. Just seeing his artwork made me excited to read this issue.

The birth of this Batman is a testament to what Batman is willing to do in order to save the world.

Batman the Drowned 3 - DC Comics News

Batman the Drowned 4 - DC Comics News

Negatives

Unfortunately, this tie-in has a few weak areas, which surprises me because Dan Abnett usually writes so well. This issue spends more time with large panels of Bryce’s attacks than it does on a story. It would’ve been great to explore the dynamic between the surface and Atlantis more before the final confrontation takes place.

The gender swapping doesn’t bother me given that it is a parallel Earth. However, it would nice to have discovered if it works both ways. If Aquaman and Batman are women, does that mean Mera is a man? It’s completely glossed over leaving the reader to wonder.

Finally, it doesn’t sell me on why Bryce Wayne is evil or why she agrees to follow the one Who Laughs.

Batman the Drowned 5 - DC Comics NewsVerdict

Batman: The Drowned has a more complicated task of turning Batman into an evil version of another League member than some of the others.  In Batman: The Dawnbreaker, it just required him getting the Green Lantern ring while here Batman needs to be genetically altered. If they spent more time developing that aspect of the story over battle sequences, then maybe this issue would’ve been better.

It was a good attempt, but I just feel it came nowhere near its potential, especially in comparison to the other tie-ins.

 

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Cameron Tevis

Hi, I'm Cameron Tevis and I've been a comic book, anime and film fan my entire life. While I like Marvel and anime my true love is DC Comics. My father, who was a fan himself, introduced me at a very young age to the amazing characters in DC (especially Hal Jordan Green Lantern). I think it's a fantastic time to be a comic book fan and I'm happy I get to write about the company that I love so much. Besides being a DC fan, I am a designer and I recently started a comic book series of my own called Event Cycle 6 published through Aporian Comics. I recently wrote and directed a short film "The Misadventures of Harley Quinn". And most importantly I am now a father to my beautiful daughter Arya Jade!