GRAPHIC NOVELS

Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel

DC Ink. Oct. 2019. 208p. adapted by adapted by Stuart Moore. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781401280048.
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Gr 7 Up–Bruce Wayne is Batman in all but name in this adaptation of Lu’s YA novel. Though a self-conscious teenager at 18, he nonetheless gives chase to criminals and checks in with Lucius Fox about the WayneTech company. His daring exploits land him in community service at Arkham Asylum, where women inmates catcall him daily. Detective Draccon of the Gotham City Police keeps a watchful eye over him, including calling out his billionaire privilege. She and Bruce are on separate trails of the Nightwalkers, a group of violent activists who rob and murder the ultra-rich. An Arkham inmate, Madeleine, seems to play Bruce for a fool but also feeds him clues about the Nightwalkers’ plans and makes pointed critiques of the one percent. The two share a budding romance, veiled in mind games. Fans of the Dark Knight will recognize Easter eggs aplenty, including the Draculords from DC’s YA series “Gotham Academy.” Other figures from Batman’s storied past, such as Harvey Dent and Alfred Pennyworth, make winking contributions to the story alongside would-be rival Richard Price, generic friend Dianne, and strong-arm Arkham warden Dr. Zoe James. The artwork is almost entirely black-and-white; yellow highlights indicate danger, making action scenes pop and subtly highlighting otherwise innocuous objects. Wildgoose’s illustrations adeptly depict awkward adolescent exchanges as well as tense interrogations and violent standoffs.
VERDICT Bat-fans will find no shortage of hooks to grab their attention, while the central mystery is a fun cat-and-mouse game in itself.

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