By: Andrew Fontana
If there is one salient thing about Batman #38, its the fact that Tom King really knows how to write a filler issue. Batman #38 is a single issue story that manages to be nearly as compelling as the longer arcs King has worked on.
In “The Origin of Bruce Wayne,” King explores the psychosis inherent to the character by having Bruce aid a child put through the same tragedy he endured. There are so many ways that King could have taken such a story. Fortunately the script plays with that narrative in a unique fashion that ends in a way no one expects.
Batman #38 has several twists, with the final one packing quite a narrative punch. The best Batman stories always have the elements of a psychological thriller, and that’s true here. King memorably inverts Bruce Wayne’s founding tragedy, taking that familiar narrative out of the realm of superheroes and into that of horror. Its heartbreaking and terrifying single issue that manages to shake both character and reader to the core.
Travis Moore and Giulia Brusco craft brooding, atmospheric artwork that conjures the simmering horror that underlays the comic. The colors and pencils are evocative of horror, giving the visuals a portending sense of dread. Brusco’s lush dark colors do much of the heavy lifting through backgrounds painted in ominous tones. King’s Batman run has had constantly good art since the beginning, and that doesn’t change here.