[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artists: Philip Tan and Tyler Kirkham
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.
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.
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 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.