COMIC BOOK REVIEW - The Dark Knight: Mad
By The Masked Medic
So a couple of months ago, when I went with my sister to watch “The Batman”, I commented that actually, I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad Batman portrayal on the big screen. Each actor bought a different version of the character to the viewers and in a way, it sort of reflected the different versions of Batman I’ve read in the same continuity but in different series. Since it’s been a while since I’ve seen Christian Bale’s version I thought it was a good time to return to “The Dark Knight” series!
‘Mad’ sees Batman go up against arguably one of his more odd foes; Mad Hatter. Jarvis Tetch, a.k.a Mad Hatter, has started kidnapping people by the droves in Gotham. Aided by his henchmen, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Tetch is hatching a plan that both Batman and the GCPD are unable to figure out. Initially, Batman believes the crook behind the crime is The Penguin, but he soon lets it slip that there’s another villain who’s all about the hats! Haha! Whilst this is going on, we see Bruce develop a relationship and genuine feelings for Natalya Trusevich, a Russian ballet dancer. Struggling with the desire to keep her at bay as well as the fact that he feels he may love her, Bruce lets her in on his secret, showing her around the cave. Meanwhile, Tetch is reliving memories of his childhood. We see young Jarvis enamoured with a girl at school named Alice who seems to treat him fairly nicely. However, when it appears that Tetch isn’t going through puberty like the rest of the kids, he starts to get bullied a little more. Doctors find an experimental treatment which they advise against, citing serious side effects of mental instability. Jarvis doesn’t seem to care and begins taking the treatment, only to find that it does start messing with him. We cut back to present day and see that his entire plan consists of reliving his one great memory with Alice, the girl he liked at school. Despite all the roles being filled, Mad Hatter can’t find anyone to play Alice, until one night when he sees Batman dropping off Natalya at her show. Immediately he has his henchmen kidnap her and attempts to get the information out of her that he so desperately seeks. Can Batman rescue this woman who has opened his heart? And just what is Tetch capable of?
I said it before, but this Dark Knight series stands a little different from the rest. This Batman is a lot more violent and definitely a lot more driven. There are certain aspects which harken back to the films with Bruce opening up and letting someone into his life. Traditionally, Batman has been seen as this stoic and silent character who never let anyone take up that role. It’s probably why he has such a complicated love life. But it was nice to see him happy, albeit temporarily. One of the things that I think this novel did very well was the character development of Mad Hatter. Hatter is one of the lesser-known villains, and I’d go so far as to say, one of the more jokey villains usually, but ‘Mad’ does an excellent job of giving you his backstory but also explaining why he’s so dangerous. I mean, maybe I should start drinking some of that crazy tea! Ha!
The artwork was not bad, and I noticed that the characters are drawn very larger than life which contrasts against the very grounded nature of this series so far. The covers weren’t really my cup of tea, pun completely intended, but again, very larger than life! Overall, this was a good novel to continue this low-key series, and I’m excited for whoever they bring next!
I love that even Gordon anticipates that he’ll just be gone in a second
This Batman is something a little different. I can’t say how, but he just is.
Story Arc: ★★★
Character Development: ★★★★