Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2) by Marie Lu
Before he became Batman, he was just Bruce Wayne. He was just a rich orphan raised essentially by a butler. A kid with a fortune and company to inherit and a penchant for justice.
Okay, so as far as origin stories I was really looking forward to this one, as Batman is my favorite super hero (between Marvel & DC). It was really nice to get a story behind Bruce aside from memories of his parents being shot, pearl necklace breaking, hiding in cave (falling into a well) full of bats that come in little flashbacks. Through this review I may or may not mention some unmarked spoilers regarding Batman in general, I am assuming that it is common knowledge for any Batman fan.
The World Building
Marie Lu kept a consistent idea of Gotham having a rich side and a ghetto side that matched that most fans would be familiar with. Throughout the book she often referenced to how sketchy or eerie Arkam Asylum was as well as the rest of the city. I love that she even mentioned on the sly Metropolis, another major city within the DC universe where the famed Superman resides as an adult.
I was happy to see that the technology that Wayne Tech was producing wasn’t too far fetched and stayed within reasonable limits of our current technology. It wasn’t anything that could not be imagined or so extreme that it seemed futuristic. Having Bruce’s role as a recent graduate and interning at the company opens up the plausibility that he would have been introduced as well as access to the equipment that would inspire him and assist him in becoming Batman. Although, I was disappointed in finding that Marie Lu only mentions the bats in passing as Bruce admires the creatures and the caves they reside in as a comment, and only eluding that he becomes Batman later because of his name and the equipment he used in the book. She does, however, offer us a little bit of a background that supports his ability to fight.
One thing that I don’t like about Marie Lu’s writing is her romance. I’m not sure why I thought it would be any different in this book, but somehow she makes the romantic relationships appear so shallow with little interaction that would actually build anything more than say a crush. In reality, would these brief conversations actually have someone reconsidering their actions?
Bruce seemed like such a normal kid, despite his riches and history. I liked that he wasn’t full fledged into justice and criminal law, but had a slight interest because of his history and his friend’s histories. Bruce is constantly experiencing interactions where he is either being used or someone being twisted either by his friends or by the assumed villain. It follows the format where he somehow gets too involved with his villains to the point where he ends up making a mistake or aiding in their plans somehow, and having to clean up the mess that he helped make.
As for other characters, there were quite a few base characters that were introduced, albeit, not thoroughly written into the story as many may have wanted. Alfred seemed to be involved, but lacked his spunky personality. We also were introduced to Lucius Fox, Commissioner Jim Gordon, as well as future villain Harvey Dent. For fans, we know Harvey to later become Two-Face. So the book not only played as an origin for Batman, but also for one of his later enemies. In fact, Marie Lu even wiggled in some foreshadowing to his playing with coins on his finger which was always an endearing attribute for the villain for me.
Gesaffelstein – Hate or Glory