Mark Millar’s Nemesis wasn’t the first time an evil version of Batman was explored. Batman: The Wrath collects the appearances of the Dark Knight’s villainous doppelgänger.
Our introduction to Wrath comes back in 1984’s Batman Special by writer Mike W. Barr and penciller Michael Golden. Apparently the murder of the Waynes wasn’t the only thing that happened in Crime Alley on June 26. At the same time a young Bruce Wayne witnessed his parents dying at the hands of a criminal, another young boy at the other end of the street had a similar experience. His thief parents were killed in a shoot-out by Commissioner Gordon.
That boy grew up to be Wrath, the police killing super villain. He’s back in Gotham City to kill Gordon, and has discovered that Bruce Wayne is Batman. This story ends with a few more plot swerves and Wrath falling victim to his own ego and burning to death. Well, at least Gordon is safe and Batman’s secret is intact.
Well, it wasn’t as we learn in the second half of the book. A story arc in Batman Confidential tells the part two to this story, as a new and better trained Wrath has shown up. Not only is he tied to his predecessor, but he too has a history with Gordon. Eep. It’s up to Batman and Nightwing to get to the bottom of this.
Tony Bedard’s writing carries on the mystery aspects of the first story and its a great mystery. Rags Morales’ art is top-notch, as it echos Golden’s style perfectly. So many trades are ruined when there are different artists on the book, as the style clash can be jarring. This isn’t a problem here.
That said, this is definitely worth checking out. It’s a great mystery/detective story.