Batman: The Dawnbreaker #1

Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colorist: Jason Wright
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Cover: Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics

A review by Stacy Dooks

I’ve always been a Green Lantern fan, ever since I first encountered the character back during the amazing Len Wein/Dave Gibbons run. The character’s mythology since the Silver Age has been one that’s always had an allure for me, both as a fan of comics and of science fiction. The power ring provided by the Guardians of the Universe to their Green Lanterns is essentially a lightsaber that can do anything. The Green Lantern Corps is a band of heroes from across the galaxy sworn to the ideals of justice, honor, and courage.

But what happens when someone is chosen who isn’t worthy? What if someone had the ability to overcome great fear, but was also completely dead inside? What happens when the most powerful weapon in the galaxy is given to a psychopath? Batman: The Dawnbreaker provides an answer.

As I mentioned in my previous reviews of both Batman: The Red Death and Batman: The Murder Machine, each of the Dark Nights has commented both on Bruce Wayne and the character they so clearly parallel. With Batman: The Dawnbreaker, we come to the contrast between Bruce Wayne and Green Lantern.

The Bruce Wayne of Earth -32 is what would happen if Bruce had obtained power too quickly, without the years of wandering and training or Alfred to help assuage his grief and channel his drive into a more positive direction. The contrast between this broken Bruce Wayne and the experienced, courageous Hal Jordan is a marked one. Both characters have been through their share of tragedy, and both have had power thrust upon them. But power without the experience or emotional balance needed to temper it welded to a bottomless well of grief, pain and self-loathing makes for a very bad thing.

Batman: The Dawnbreaker also makes for a dark mirror to another Batman/Green Lantern mash-up tale: the Elseworlds one-shot Batman: In Darkest Knight by Mike W. Barr and Jerry Bingham. In that story, Bruce Wayne is about to embark on his career as the Batman when Abin Sur’s spaceship crashes. He uses the ring in his war on crime, but the Bruce Wayne of this tale is as morally centered and driven to justice as the original, and it ends on a decidedly more upbeat note.

Sam Humphries tells a mean little story of how Dawnbreaker Batman was broken from the start, brought to eerie life by the work of longtime Green Lantern alumni Ethan Van Sciver. The interplay of green and black by Jason Wright enhances the creepy imagery on display and once again we get a very DC by way of EC comic book.

The Verdict
Buy It!
Each of these Dark Nights issues stands as an enjoyable one-off tale of just how wrong Batman could go, and Batman: The Dawnbreaker is a wickedly twisted little tale of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Recommended.

Stacy Dooks
Stacy Dooks is a writer and assorted pop culture fanatic whose childhood fixations on the works of Jim Henson, George Lucas, and DC Comics laid the groundwork for his current status as a pop culture junkie chatterbox. He currently resides in Calgary, Alberta while he waits for his TARDIS coral to finish growing. For more of his observations on popular culture, check out The Fanboy Power Hour:

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