Batman: Knight of Vengeance #1 Review
Batman: Knight of Vengeance #1 is the first of a three-issue series illustrating the state of Gotham as it was influenced one way or the other during the Flashpoint event, watched over by a less merciful bat-themed vigilante, the role of which was somehow assumed by Dr. Thomas Wayne, the father of Bruce Wayne. Released in August 2011, it was penned by comic book writer Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Eduardo Risso.
The first few pages saw Thomas Wayne being psychoanalyzed by a psychiatrist, much to the former’s chagrin, during the course of which a few intriguing points were raised, in order to qualify for an insurance renewal and subsequently, the ability to resume Wayne’s casino business as usual. Oswald Cobblepot, better known as the Penguin prior to the Flashpoint event, later joined the scene in the place of Alfred Pennyworth as an assistant to Thomas Wayne, who disclosed his intention behind opening a gambling establishment was to tame Gotham’s underworld within bearable limits.
Accompanied by Jim Gordon, the doctor visited Harvey Dent and his wife, both clearly much agitated over the kidnapping of his twins by the Joker, with a promise to return them to safer hands, though not before it was revealed that Thomas Wayne had managed to privatize Gotham’s system of law enforcement with Gotham Security. Jim Gordon later informed the doctor of a series of disappearances prior to the Joker’s breakout from Arkham Asylum. At this point, Jim Gordon was seemingly seen as the only acquaintance trustworthy enough to whom the doctor had confided his identity as Batman, as he prepared for the coming investigation on the case he was handed.
Under the guise of Batman, the doctor had pursued his way down to the sewers, during which the word ‘hell’ was insinuated a couple of times, building up on the rumor that there was actually something supernatural at work, before revealing that it was a call for help by the missing individuals in question, abducted and amputated by visually deformed Killer Croc. Batman engaged the villain in combat, suffering momentarily at one point from a flashback alluding to a young Bruce standing by as he bore witness to the confrontation between Thomas Wayne and the gunman in the fateful alley, where the latter had taken a few shots. The flashback ended with Killer Croc nearly succeeding in drowning Batman before the abomination had its eye jabbed by a thumb, and the casual reader could easily assume who never emerged alive that night. The battle arrived at a conclusion as the vigilante stabbed Killer Croc between the eyes with the knife the latter was carrying. The issue ended with a glimpse of the Joker terrorizing the kidnapped Dent twins in the character’s typical twisted manner.
In contrast to his son’s reservations toward the taking of one’s life, regardless of the person’s ethical disposition or lack thereof, Thomas Wayne showed no qualms in doing so as Batman, as shown by his slaying Killer Croc and, earlier on in this issue, Harvey Dent attributing the demise of notorious rogues such as Hush, Scarecrow and Poison Ivy to the vigilante himself. The good doctor’s costume also differed if slightly in various aspects from that of his son, the most significant of which included the vigilante’s blood-red eyes and a red circle behind the bat insignia on the chest. Well worth a read, Batman: Knight of Vengeance #1 lays out the foundation for a separate timeline where Bruce Wayne never existed, while contrasting father and son in their ways of coping with the loss of a loved one as well as assuming the role of Gotham’s Dark Knight.