Monday, September 21, 2015

I wonder if Batman and Nightwing called him "Wrathchild" to his face...

Today's an issue that I was excited for when it was first announced...then forgot about, then picked up a marked-down copy of last week: from 2008, Batman Confidential #16, "Wrath Child, Conclusion" Written by Tony Bedard, pencils by Rags Morales, inks by Mick Gray and Rodney Ramos.

I was looking forward to the return of the Wrath from Batman Special #1, and good news: he's got a costume pretty close to the original, not the nondescript armor of the New 52 version. The original Wrath died pretty definitively in his first appearance, so this storyline features his protege out for revenge: this Wrath is a little closer to guest-star Nightwing than Batman, and that's his downfall.

With Alfred hacking child protective services databases for orphans whose parents were killed by police, Batman and Nightwing deduce the Wrath's real name, Elliot Caldwell. They also realize Elliot wasn't the Wrath's only protege: he had kidnapped four other kids for "training," only Elliot had survived. He knew the Wrath never loved him, but while shaken, he's game to take on Batman and Nightwing together. Their teamwork and partnership kicks the Wrath's ass metaphorically--his beating isn't even pictured, he's just in jail on the last page!

Perhaps this would have held up better if I read all of the previous issues, although I suspect they were mostly callbacks to the Batman Special: the new Wrath going after Commissioner Gordon and the old Wrath's old girlfriend. And while he's far better known for his work on Identity Crisis, I liked Morales's work way back when on the AD&D comic Forgotten Realms. Such a fun, charming book; he's changed his style a bit since then...not sure if for the better. Well, perhaps the first three issues of "Wrath Child" will trickle in later.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

That is some gorgeous art by Rags for sure. The bad costume aside, I think the New52 incarnation of the Wraith had potential, but unfortunately longevity never seems to be in the cards for the character in any incarnation. I think as a character with a twisted version of Bruce's origin, he should be more of a regular in Bat's rogues gallery, but it just never works out that way. Shame really.