It is no secret that Batman is among the most famous & widely loved characters in the ever expanding world of comics. So, it’s pretty cliché to admit that he sits comfortably among one of my prestigious “top three lists” of all-time personal favorites (stay tuned for that series coming soon). Seeing as I was already impressed with DC’s diversity & representation efforts with The Suicide Squad’s King Shark, (read that reaction in “Nanaue & Me”) I practically BEGGED to examine this collection!
With Batman: The World, DC Comics travels the globe in a collaborative effort that spans 15 countries, all celebrating their own unique take on everyone’s favorite caped crusader. As we travel through each of them, with the turn of the page, we are treated to a glimpse at the many different art & writing styles from the regions the creative teams come from. Many ground their chapter in the historical & cultural significance or highlight folklore from the place they call home. Each new chapter is a fresh take on the world’s greatest detective & a host of his infamous rogue gallery!
Already a fan of previous collaborations between Brian Azzarello (writer) & Lee Bermejo (artist) in Batman stories such as Joker, Batman: Noel & the controversial Batman: Damned, I truly feel the anthology took a big gamble by kicking off with these heavy hitters that could have set some unfair expectations & standards for the creatives to follow. Nevertheless, the veterans did a great job with their contribution, “Global City. ” In this opening chapter, we are told why Batman is taking his war on crime world-wide. As if responding to a bat-signal of sorts, the remaining creative teams rise to the call & deliver an action packed collection that I have no doubt any Bat fan can find something they could relate to or enjoy! The following are my favorite ones.
Catwoman is seen scaling the rooftops of Paris, France & breaks into a high profile art gallery. Batman interrupts her after hours self tour & a pursuit ensues! Is Gotham’s greatest cat burglar after a new score, a new addition to her home décor or is the anti-hero after something more?
My wife & I thoroughly enjoyed this installment as it was a very fun cat & mouse between the Bat & Cat that played off their history as love interests. Matthieu masterfully handled the dramatic timing & Thierry equally displayed an old-timey cartoonist style that added a sense of antiquity to the overall vibe!
Set during the tail end of the Cold War in Russia, we see how the influence of a loving grandfather & a special gift would lead a young boy to live a life full of art & Batman.
This was my favorite chapter by far! The story was so reminiscent of how influential my own grandfather was on me & showed how that faith & love led to so much joy & success in the main character’s life. The tale was expertly woven through the years that followed the demise of the “Iron Curtain” & showed what effect art had on public opinion. Along the way, we discover that the greater storyline is set in the same universe as Gotham City & a particular Dark Knight! Zaidova delivers a visual spectacle & the dynamic writer duo of Kutuzov & Prutov are enough to rival that of any veteran in the comic book medium, in my opinion!
The lines are blurred between truth, justice & freedom when a masked vigilante fighting for justice is deemed a criminal by authorities but a hero in the pages of an independent newspaper.
This final chapter was the perfect way to end the anthology. Okadaya Yuichi is worthy of special note alone for single handedly fulfilling every role of an average comic creating team. Writing the script, handling interior art, cover art & lettering, it is a short list of creators that have that versatility. Besides being a one man band, Okadaya tells a tale that argues the philosophical boundaries between right & wrong, freedom & tyranny. When does one end & the next begin? Get a hold of your own copy of Batman: The World & decide for yourself. Great job DC! Can’t wait to see what you folks come up with next.