Written by: Scott Snyder & Kyle Higgins
Art by: Javier Fernandez
Colors by: Alex Guimarães
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Marvel What If? Was easily my favorite comic book when I was a kid. I loved the idea of alternate realities and how everything can change if one thing goes differently than it originally did. Ever since, I have always clamored for a DC book of the same vein, and now we finally get it with “Tales of the Dark Multiverse.” In this book, we take a tour through the dark multiverse and see how famous DC storylines throughout history unfolded differently in the Dark Multiverse. In this issue, we take a look at the Batman: Knightfall storyline, and see what would have happened if Azrael had defeated Bruce Wayne and Bane to become Gotham’s permanent new Batman.
Jean-Paul Valley is a character that I think hasn’t gotten the exploration that he deserves, as I feel he’s got an interesting story and dynamic with justice. I was glad to see him get a spotlight in Justice League Odyssey, but outside of that he seems like a forgotten character. Knightfall is a story that has one of Batman’s most famous moments in it when Bane breaks his back, but a major character in the story like Valley often gets left out of the discussion. This issue was cool to read because it gives Azrael the spotlight as Saint Batman, and we get to see what Gotham would have been like under his reign.
I loved the way that the story unfolded in this issue, and Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins told it in a way that it felt like the massive ending to a long story that’s been around forever, but you don’t have to read 100 different issues to understand anything. It felt like I was stepping into a well developed universe where these characters have had along stories and I’ve known them well, but I didn’t have to invest in anything other than this issue. The artwork is also amazing and does a good job of making this story feel like it takes place in another universe.
My biggest concern with this issue is the characters that were introduced. Not because they were bad or anything, but more because I’m interested in what the future of them is. In the beginning of the issue, Tempus Fuginaut introduces the idea that he’s looking for heroes to fight in the upcoming crisis and that’s why we’re looking at these earths. This is where I encourage you to read the book and come back, because there’s some light spoilers here. I thought Bane’s son was a cool character and I love the idea of him joining DC proper for a crisis, but that seems unlikely now. And I loved Bruce Wayne’s presence in this issue and him being a different sort of evil Batman by the end of it, but I’m not sure that we’ll get the chance to see him again either. Overall, the issue was very good and I’d like to see more from this universe, but I’m not sure that we’ll get to. I’m definitely interested in the future of this line, especially with writers like Scott Snyder at the helm.