What would happen if a man became a god? Would he change the world with his power or would that power just change him? The first one shot from the Darkseid War shows exactly what happens when a historically incorruptible and human hero becomes a New God. We all might think that Batman could fix everything if only he had “powers”. That may not be the case when we see what godhood has done to the Dark Knight…
Synopsis: Batman has become the God of Knowledge through the events of the Darkseid War. When the New God, Metron, was removed from the Mobius Chair, Batman jumped onto it to keep it from disappearing. Now, sitting in the Mobius Chair, he knows all and can see all possible outcomes from any situation. It is with this new power that he has been systematically stopping crime in Gotham before it happens for the past few days.
However, Commissioner Gordon says in the beginning of the issue that he has released these “criminals” because they can’t be incarcerated for crimes they have not committed yet. Batman assures Gordon that they would have and explains that the chair enables him to “fracture” timelines to prevent criminals from breaking the law. Gordon accuses Batman of being affected by the chair and that he is misguided for believing the chair is going to fix Gotham since human nature will not change.
In the next few scenes, Batman teleports to various would-be crimes in action and stops criminals through different means of punishment. Eventually, Batman’s internal monologue indicates he is going to turn his power towards a more personal mission. He arrives in Crime Alley, in the past, just in time to witness his parents being murdered. He attempts to stop the bullets but it is apparent that he can’t alter the past. He tells the chair to take him to the present to confront the man who murdered his parents, Joe Chill.
At Gotham State Penitentiary, Batman arrives in Chill’s cell and begins to wonder what he deserves for his crime. They then discuss the murder of the Wayne’s. Chill believes that he must have become a nightmare to the surviving Wayne child.
Batman unmasks himself and admits that he wants to kill Chill but that would be merciful. He explains that he is more compelled to tell all the inmates that Chill created Batman. After Chill calls him a monster, Batman returns Chill to his cell and tells him to forget everything about him and his identity.
Returning to the Batcave, Alfred begins to question Batman’s relationship with the Mobius Chair. It is clear at one point that Batman is unable to even step down from the chair. Alfred expresses his concern and remarks that Batman has not slept nor eaten anything since becoming a god. Batman believes the chair is a gift and will allow him to be “an absolute Batman dealing absolute justice”. In the final panels, Batman reveals that his focus will be turned to taking down the Joker.
Review: I thought this was a great one shot that explores the transformation of Batman into a god. We had been seeing glimpses of how he had changed in Justice League but Peter Tomasi explores the real consequences of this change on a more personal level. He handled the interactions between Bat-god and other Gotham characters really well. Having Gordon (out of Batsuit) and Alfred (two-handed) visibly uneasy and uncomfortable with the new god was perfect since those characters are always there to challenge Bruce/Batman. As always, Tomasi proves he knows how to write characters in Gotham.
I really was a big fan of showing the strain of a god-like device on a mortal man. Even with his new powers, it’s clear that Bruce is losing more than gaining in his symbiotic relationship with the Mobius Chair. With Bruce losing blood and being unable to leave the chair, I am looking forward to seeing how this will play out for Batman.
My only problem with this issue was the handling of Joe Chill. This interaction had solid moments but fell short when it displayed Chill reveling in his torturing of a small boy after the death of his parents. It may just come from my interpretation of Chill but I always believed it was a crime of necessity for him and he did not dwell on the murder with “fond” memories.
As far as artwork, artist Fernando Pasarin gave us penciling very similar to Fabok. The clean and glossy look to the artwork helps to make Batman seem more fantastical amidst the grit of Gotham. A lot is owed to the colorist, Gabe Eltaeb, for this look.
Overall, I thought the creative team gave us a solid one shot that has me even more interested in other one shots as well as the next issue in the main Justice League title.