Review of Batman: Condemned (Deluxe Edition)

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ECC Ediciones brings us the Deluxe Edition of Batman: Damned by the creative duo of Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo.

For a while now, ECC Ediciones has been committed to collecting the sometimes timeless DC Comics classics in deluxe format, the kind that continue to sell even if they’re not new. These are really discreet editions intended for purchase by readers who are very interested in the format. One of the last comics to receive this treatment was Batman: Doomed.

The death of the Joker

The beginning of this story in medias res draws the attention of the readers and works well, as in this case the tone of the narrative is eerily appropriate. In the back of the ambulance we have a team of paramedics fighting to keep the Dark Knight alive.

But the truth is, after this start, we realize that the crime boss is dead. Since he has no memory of what happened, the suspicion about the identity of the culprit is clear, even to Bruce Wayne himself. And so begins the investigation as our main character struggles with himself while being chased by the police and (supposedly) not committing suicide.

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Magic in Gotham City

What is curious about this investigation is that from the beginning various magical elements of the DC universe are involved, which adds complexity to the plot and differs from the earthly story, but it remains raw. Lee Bermejo needs a picture.

The artist’s commitment to hyperrealism leads him to work for something much grittier and darker, leaving colorful pajama stories aside. It’s also interesting to see Bermejo enjoying himself here, in a style closer to the Franco-Belgian comic than the Yankee.

Characters such as Constantine, the Teacher, Deadman, the Spectator, Etrigan, Swamp Thing or Zatanna are involved in this trick, sometimes taking it to the usual place of gothic horror superhero comics, something that raises the bar for age. The target audience for this volume is very familiar with the early days of DC Comics’ Black Label imprint.

In an unexpected twist of fate, screenwriter Brian Azrello isn’t content to take our character where he doesn’t roam much, but instead ups the ante and takes his origins to a place influenced by dark forces, twisting the story of the exploding pearl into the necklace and the street of crime we’ve seen so often.

Controversy and censorship

The opposite might have been expected from such a deluxe edition, but what we get here is a censored version of the work, except for the versions we’ve always seen before its first publication. And why is this censorship? It is no more or less than the first Batman’s frontal nudity seen in the comics. This image can be seen in the promotional versions of a certain vignette where the hero is casually walking through the Batcave, but the vignette is quickly superimposed on a pitch blackness that plunges him into indiscernible shadows.

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Obviously, this isn’t just a curiosity, and the lighting applied to said panel doesn’t make the comic any better or worse. Batman: Damned is a bold and conventional work that plays with the characters’ lore and common ground (it works very well in the universe the writers have created with other works like the Joker and Luthor), and it has the greatest work. Strength Successfully crafted in Bermejo as a rare charm to enjoy.

Published by ECC Ediciones, this deluxe volume is presented in hardcover cardboard format in a plastic sleeve. It contains 192 color pages with a page size of 180 x 274 mm. And the limited series Batman: The Troubled, as well as the included issues, will include a translation of the three-issue American edition, each of which includes the original covers and a final section full of extras, alternate covers, and a working section. Process from Bermejo. It has a recommended retail price of €35.50 and goes on sale in April 2024.

Batman be damned

Batman: The Damned (Deluxe Edition)

ISBN: 978-84-10134-00-3

The Joker is dead. There is no doubt about that. But it’s a mystery whether Batman has broken his weak neck or some other sinister force different from the people living in Gotham City.

The problem is that Batman can’t remember anything… and the deeper he gets into this lab case, the more his mind begins to question everything it finds. Who better than John Constantine? With their help, Batman investigates the darkest corners of Gotham and discovers the devastating truth about who killed the Joker.

Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo continue their fruitful collaboration on Batman: Doomed, the character’s modern classic now back in a deluxe edition with tons of extras.

Authors: Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo