As hoped, it was better than the first in the DC Icons series, Wonder Woman: Warbringer. Maybe that’s due in large part to the fact that Batman as a mortal character needs to have his origin updated for each leap in technological progress: it’s absurd to think that this iconic character, dependent as he is on gadgets and tech, could be anything less than hyper-modern, whereas to do the same to the ageless and essentially immortal Wonder Woman feels both unnecessary and insulting to her background (but since DC Comics doesn’t have a problem with it, who am I to complain? ::eye-roll::)
Which isn’t to say that Batman: Nightwalker doesn’t have issues of its own. It’s not particularly clever or ground-breaking — and it definitely hasn’t carved out a place for itself in the essential canon — but it’s an entertaining and not entirely unconvincing depiction of a pivotal chapter in a teenage Bruce Wayne’s life. My main problem was with the editing: I was more than happy to let a few weird mistakes go, but by the time this came along, I was grinding my teeth so hard that I had to bookmark the damn thing so I wouldn’t forget to quote it verbatim for this review:
“Half a flight ahead of him was [redacted], who seemed to move with a speed and agility that belied everyone else.”
Are you fucking kidding me?! Look, as an Asian-American first-generation immigrant, I get that the nuances of the English language can be hard, so I legit don’t hold it against Marie Lu (or any other author, no matter what background) to fuck that one up. But that a professional editor read through this and didn’t immediately red line that shit makes me want to scream in horror. I do not have the time or patience to go through the rest of the book again to pick out the other glaring mistakes, but I am aghast at the standards here. Also? My copy had an excerpt from the next novel, the Catwoman re-imagining, and oh my God, fuck you everyone involved. Elegant cat burglar Selina Kyle is a teenage cage fighter, like ayfkm? I get that it’s more palatable than being a young prostitute, as she was in canon (tho this also opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms about sex work and shame,) but oh fuck it, I give up, Catwoman in non-comics media has been a hot mess since Tim Burton fucking ruined her in his stupid movie. Yeah, I said it. I am grossed out by the association of gratuitous violence with the character, particularly in a YA setting, especially since it looks like it’s taking the place of voluntary, if transactional, sex. Definitely not reading the next book.
Anyway, if you can get over the basic editing errors in this volume, it’s a perfectly serviceable piece of entertainment that is recognizably Batman and not some appalling bastardization of the character.