Batman: The Dawnbreaker #1
Writer: Sam Humpries
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colors: Jason Wright
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Cover: Jason Fabok and Brad Enderson
Assistant Editor: Andrew Marino
Editor: Mike Cotton
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Last time: The Dark Knights have arrived, a team of twisted Bruce Waynes from atop Challengers Mountain. As chaos just starts to begin, we get a spotlight to see what went wrong.
This time: On Earth negative 32, Bruce Wayne’s parents were shot down in front of him as a child. But when a green lantern ring chooses him as one with the ability to overcome great fear, the young Bruce shows that he’s capable, and then some. Using the void of loss, he pumps the ring past its full capacity of will, enabling lethal force as he murders his parents’ killer with a horrific eldritch force. As Bruce tries to use the ring to resurrect his mother and father, he brings only dark, twisted corpses, as a black void corrupts the power of the ring’s green will. This power corrupts throughout Gotham, as Bruce has no problem killing every major threat in Gotham City, much to every criminal’s and even Jim Gordon’s fear. As Bruce obliterates a fearful Gordon who tells him he knows who he is, the forces of the entire Green Lantern Corps arrive, informing Bruce of his damaged ring, and that they’re there to help. But overcome with an undying will and his ring which seems to use death itself, Bruce uses a blackout to toss the entire corps to a depth of eldritch horrors, even tearing the guardians of the universe limb from limb. As a still empty Bruce watches the power battery in a broken and empty gaze, he enters, bathing himself in the green light and emerging as Batman, The Dawnbreaker. As the Dawnbreaker is recruited by the Batman Who Laughs and his previous two gains The Red Death and The Murder Machine, the darker knight fights off against Hal Jordan on earth Zero. As the dark twisted might of his ring encompasses Hal Jordan, Doctor Fate transports Hal off to some unknown place with a mystical ankh, as the Dawnbreaker uses his dark horrors to truly bring horror to Coast City.
Reed Strong’s Good Read: In all of the Dark Knight oneshots we’ve seen so far, there’s been kind of a singular moment that’s changed what we know about Bruce Wayne and Batman. Maybe it’s due to the existence of In Darkest Knight, an elseworlds story with this same concept of Bruce Wayne taking on a green lantern ring, but despite terrific visuals and that same enjoyable utterly despair drenched tone of these other things, The Dawnbreaker wasn’t quite as exciting as the previous two journeys so far. Even the constructs Dawnbreaker uses, while horrific and fantastic, draw too many similarities to the powers of so many versions of Volthoom to really let this issue have that much identity. That all being said, it’s still an enjoyable little romp of a knight who went dark, it just doesn’t manage to have that surprise factor.