25 years ago, a young boy would witness his parents killed by a mugger, and due to this traumatic experience he would later go on to become the vigilante Batman, a costumed crime-fighter who wages war against crime. 25 years ago, a young boy would witness his parents killed by an on duty police officer, and due to this traumatic experience he would later go on to become a villain named the Wrath, a costumed killer who wages war against the law. Batman must now confront an opponent who is skilled and obsessed as he is; his opposite number. -summary
When I caught a glimpse of the story, I knew this book would be mine. It just had the sound of a winner, even though I was not impressed with the earlier stories in this particular series. Batman: The Wrath is the third story arc, and trade paperback of the Batman Confidential series issues 13 - 16 titled Wrath Child, written by Tony Bedard back in 2008. It also features and begins the original run in with the Wrath from Batman Special # 1 titled The Player on the Other Side, written by Mike Barr back in 1984. For those who may not know, Batman Confidential chronicles events in Batman's earlier crime fighting career, very similar to the Batman: Year One storyline. However, it would also feature certain events and moments of his life. This particular story soon focuses on that time when Dick Grayson left as Robin to become his own man and take up Nightwing.
One of the things I noticed first, and what would carry on throughout was the amazing flow of the story. I think the story was very well paced, delivering nice amounts of suspense and delivering with the action when it was finally time. The book moves with breakneck speed, and I found myself having difficulty putting it down. In fact, I never did put it down, and I got through the book rather quickly.
The Wrath is a very well developed character, and it's easy to buy into him as Batman's opposite number. His tactics and level of intelligence just might be on the same level. There are some very interesting plot elements, but I would rather not spoil them because the surprises add to the fun.
The basic plot is Batman trying to find out what is Wrath's motivation as he takes out cops, and also attempts to take out Commissioner Gordon. The ending in the first story pretty much wraps things up, but the second featuring Wrath's return, follows up the original rather well with more suspense and twist. This story also features more side characters with Nightwing playing a role. This second part which is broken up into four chapters is the best of the two. Tony Bedard does an excellent job piggybacking Barr's fantastic first story.
I really enjoyed the artwork for the most part. The first story takes me back to the old school and is drawn by Michael Golden. Wrath has a cool design that kind of mirrors Batman's. Wrath Child is drawn by Rags Morales, and he does a splendid job that captures the old school feel of Batman, but what I noticed the most is the dark ambiance that surrounds the character found here. Either Morales is just an excellent artist or he's a long time fan of Batman. I also thought the action panels were very good, because they weren't dialogue heavy to the point where it took away from them. Instead, the dialogue added to the overall character development for Wrath, which even further established him as a legitimate threat. The only issue that I may have with the artwork is a couple of awkward drawings in the case of Nightwing, where he looked way too skinny. Other than that, there's really nothing that bothered me.
One thing I enjoyed too was the ending. Not only because all loose ends were tied up, but somethings were left up to the imagination, and the character development really didn't stop. This is definitely the best I read so far from the Batman Confidential line. And one thing is for sure, it jump started my interest to continue further and read them all soon. The first story is excellent in its own right don't get me wrong. However, it is overshadowed by the second one. In any case, this is a very good story in the Batman mythos, and I can't imagine fans coming away disappointed here. Recommended.
Pros: -Excellent villain -Action -Character development -Artwork