[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers!]
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Letters: Troy Peteri
Batman is in pursuit of an insane drone operator who’s seeking revenge on his former employers all throughout Gotham City! As the search for the drones intensifies, Batman realizes he needs to take to the skies in the Batwing to stop this terrorist calling himself “The Drone”.
Right away from the very beginning pages of the issue Tom Taylor throws action in your face! High above the skies of Gotham, Batman is fighting an unmanned aerial drone ( UAV) which is attempting to bomb the streets! As Batman takes down the drone on the top of the Gotham bridge, he communicates to Alfred that he’s on his way in to the cave. From here, the entire story is told mostly from Alfred’s point of view and it’s brilliant! If you ever need a real example of Alfred’s devotion and loyalty to Bruce, this issue will give it in spades! Immediately upon Batman’s return to the cave, he starts talking about the bomber. However, Alfred comments on the fact that Bruce is coming down with the flu and needs rest! As Batman prepares to go back out again in the Batwing, Alfred has soup already prepared in a thermos in the Batwing! Throughout the issue, Alfred’s dedication not just to Bruce, but his mission to protect Gotham is shown time and again. In one panel we see Batman engaging the UAV in aerial combat between the skyscrapers of the city, while in the other we see Alfred in the cave, tending to the suit, sharpening batarangs and preparing Bruce’s dinner.
I have no negatives about this issue. The story is told almost entirely Alfred’s point of view, and his concern for Bruce’s well being is touching. When the story starts, we’re given a flashback to the night when Alfred received the call about the Wayne’s murder. Alfred actually reveals in this narration that he had plans to Wayne’s employment soon–however one call changed everything. It’s amazing that someone would dedicate their entire lives to raising a child that was never theirs to begin with, and even to care for him still into adulthood. It’s at this moment I truly realized that through all of Bruce’s most difficult and darkest moments, Alfred could’ve simply walked away. However, Turner shows us in this issue that their relationship is more than just butler and master. Alfred and Bruce truly have a father and son bond. Towards the end of our issue Batman encounters The Drone, and the two engage in combat. In the midst of the fight, Batman takes out the terrorist but is severely stabbed, and has to call Alfred for pickup. Without hesitation, the butler takes off in the Batmobile, intent on saving Bruce’s life. As Batman lies in an alley bleeding from his gut, some thugs intend to finish off the hero once and for all. Arriving in the Batmobile in the nick of time, Alfred begins to beat the thugs senseless! I always enjoy seeing Alfred’s fighting skills in action whenever possible!
Overall Batman Annual #3 is a great read and an enjoyable one! It really explores the relationship between Alfred and Bruce, plus you get to see Batman’s entire world from a whole different perspective. Alfred notes that Bruce is so busy saving the world, that he neglects himself so often. Leslie Thompkins makes an appearance in the issue as the life saving doctor that Batman needs when he’s fatally stabbed. As both Alfred and Bruce heal in her emergency room, Leslie reminds us how Alfred and Bruce are stubborn and stoic in their ways. This issue shows us why Alfred is more than just a mere employee or butler–he’s a father and a mentor to Bruce.