This article contains spoilers.
When we received our first look at the evil Batmen to emerge from the pages of Dark Nights: Metal a few months back, we understandably thought each of them looked pretty darn awesome but reserved our judgment for their respective one-shots. Well, if this week’s release of Batman: The Red Death #1 is any indication of what lies ahead, none of these issues are to be missed.
From the get-go, the concept of the Dark Multiverse is explained to us by our narrator, the sinister Batman Who Laughs. Basically, it’s a lot like that of Elseworlds. But in this case, the choices made by the heroes are so unthinkable that these Earths are deemed rotten to the core, thus said abominations are doomed. Even so, the god Barbatos won’t let any of these Dark Knights perish with their homes, instead rounding them up and invading Earth-0.
Now, I had assumed that each of these one-shots would serve as origin stories, and I was pretty much correct. In this particular issue, the creative team from The Flash, writer Joshua Williamson and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico, show what happens when the Caped Crusader goes mad, thinking he can protect the entire world by stealing Barry Allen’s powers. Normally, we’d just expect him to form Batman Incorporated, but this version would rather risk killing one of his best friends in the process.
Oddly enough, this Batman tries to replicate the Cosmic Treadmill by strapping the Scarlet Speedster to the hood of a souped-up Batmobile, and then driving it into the Speed Force. Not surprisingly, they’re both torn asunder – but then something unexpected happens. Much like Firestorm, the two have been merged into one being, with Batman being the dominant side and Flash being trapped within their shared mind.
Near the end, we begin to see what his/their trip to Earth-0 is like, and how it’s already creating headaches for its inhabitants. Suffice it to say, the fact that we’re given much more than simple origin stories, and that these one-shots seemingly have a connective thread, that probably means that it’d be wise to read each one from here on out.
Batman: The Red Death #1 is now available in comic shops.