Wednesday, May 22, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman - The Dark Knight #20

With a sewage drain just dumping dead bodies, both Batman and Gordon look over the scene and start to get philosophical, mainly about how Gotham will continue to be a crappy place, most likely forever, but they won't be around forever. Later, Gordon gives a press conference revealing the source of the mind control hats to be from the stands Hatter had put up, with of course pisses off Hatter, but he's still got an Alice to get.

Bruce tries to track the sewer systems to see where all the bodies came from, but there were too many old pipes to go through. The only lead Bruce gets is where he emerges, outside Gotham in Kane County, near where the van a few issues back was abandoned. Not much is known about the land surrounding him, mostly blocked records from the government, so Bruce gets Alfred on cracking them offer, meanwhile, Natalya is getting herself abducted.

Back in the Batcave, Bruce starts to think about what Gordon said, as he's holding Damian's old costume. Alfred comes in and reminds Bruce how much Natalya has opened him up, but it also leaves him vulnerable to death once again. Later that night Bruce has a dream about his parents, and wakes up to the signal being turned on in Gotham. Alfred comes to find him, asking if he's going to see what's up, but Bruce tells him that he's going to see Natalya first, and tell her that he won't be Batman forever, to reassure her. Alfred asks what he means, and Bruce heavily implies after finishing this case with Hatter, he'll take a good hard look at his future...

Natalya obviously doesn't take well to being Alice, and ends up swiping at Hatter's face, cutting him a bit. Alice would never do that, so Hatter just tells the Tweeds to drown her. Before they can finish the job, Hatter decides to stop, as Natalya may be use to him in finding out who Batman is.

Bruce finds Gordon and cops at Natalya's place, and immediately tells Alfred to start tracking her, as he'd bugged her earlier. Well, Natalya is getting the ever living shit beaten out of her, refusing to give up Bruce. So, Hatter puts her in a helicopter, continuing to have her beaten, while Bruce tries to reach her. Since she refuses to give up Batman's identity, Hatter finally has no more use for her, and drops her out of the helicopter, with her landing flat on the Batsignal, Bruce just barely missing her.


The Good:

I really enjoy Szymon Kudranski's art. I like EVS, but compared to what I've seen from him some more, his first three issues weren't my favorite. Kudranski on the other hand has a very distinctive style which I greatly enjoy, as already stated, and seeing it with a little more vivid color gives it a different look than I'm used to.

The Bad:

First off, this has just gone on way too long, and I'm getting bored. Second off, everything with Natalya just felt so gross. I'm not going to do the classic overreaction and claim Gregg Hurwitz is a misogynist who likes to "fridge" women or whatever, but it doesn't mean beating the shit out of this character then killing her (probably) was any less gross. The worst thing about it is past the actual act, I don't know if I care. I've already expressed having no reason to care about her as a character, so her death isn't going to leave me impacted, but if she was gonna die from the beginning, then it just proves my point of never having a reason to care about her. And again, it was just fucking gross. 

The Bottom Line:

From an art perspective, this was pretty good, but from the story side of things is just a big swing and a miss. On top of the beating and murder of Natalya, my complete lack of care for the character leaves me unable to feel anything about the conclusion of this issue, past my problems with how it got there. To feel nothing is almost worse than just straight up not liking it, and that's where I'm at... it's just unfortunate.



  1. and the master of mind-control could not use his special hats to get what he wanted from Natalia why?

    1. The possibility was brought up, but she pissed him off before they could do so.

    2. Ok.... no mind-control hats to turn her into Alice, because she pissed him off? Understandable. But no mind-control to pry Batman's true identity from her mind? Stupid and contrived, especially considering the fact that they tried to torture it out of her later on.

      Well, I guess he is called the MAD Hatter for a reason... :P

  2. Yeah - if Natalya is just used as a prop, to give Bruce some desire to leave Batman behind and then grieve over her when she's killed, then it's objectifying and (as you said) entirely gross. The writer may not be a full-on misogynist but he's not doing anyone any favours by staying within that kind of patriarchal narrative.

  3. Yeah, Natalya has definitely been fridged. Which sucks, because I kinda liked her. Speaking of which, what's up with her being white all of a sudden? Didn't she used to have darker skin?