Batman: The Drowned #1
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artists: Phillip Tan and Tyler Kirkham
Colors: Dean White and Arif Prianto
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Cover: Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson
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.
A dark knight rises from the depths, giving soliloquy to a dead world as she rises to the tops, ready to drown another. On earth negative eleven, Bryce Wayne found herself in a battle of life or death with Aquawoman, after the loss of the love of her life, Sylvester Kyle. Atlantis holds the last dangerous metas that the Batwoman had been unable to smite, and she managed to take momentary victory upon slaying the Atlantean Queen. But the forces of Atlantis retaliated, drowning Gotham and leaving Bryce only one option left. By uniting her DNA with the mutated hybrid spawn from the depths, she endowed herself with the abilities to rule the water alongside her army, Dead Water. After receiving recruitment from The Batman Who Laughs, The Drowned fights a deadly battle with Aquaman and Mera on earth zero, using the powers of Dead Water to nearly crush the royalty. In the last moments, the familiar ankh of Doctor Fate comes in to wish the King and Queen to safety, as the Drowned engulfs all of Amnesty Bay in her ocean, and watches a batsignal light up the wet sky.
Reed Strong’s Strong Read:
Badass. This book adds another dark reflection of the regular 52 Multiverse to the list of what we’ve seen so far, with earth negative eleven reflecting regular earth eleven’s gender swapped earth. The Drowned gets a shocking amount of depth for the 22-pages this book has, no pun intended, and really feels like for lack of a better word, a Batman. She monologues, she’s dramatic, she has her motivation in loss, she has that signature motivation. It’s darker and more twisted, but it shows how far a Bat is willing to go; here even altering her very DNA to take on the duty that needs to be done. The Drowned is a fully developed character over a relatively small amount of page-time, and she shows potential already. Her story isn’t immediately done here; we’re given enough to figure out about her to realize that she’s going to keep going, both in the story and as a concept in general. This ended being the best Metal tie-in yet, and it really has me thirsty for more.