Review: Batman: The Dawnbreaker

Quick Summary

Pros: The Dawnbreaker’s concept and powers are unique and neat. The artwork is fantastic.

Cons: The story itself is unimaginative. Parts of the story don’t make sense with currently established lore. It feels too structurally similar to previous “Dark Batmen” issues.

Overall: This is one of the few issues of the Metal event that have disappointed. The storytelling is generic and hard to believe. However, Dawnbreaker does bring some interesting powers to the table, most of which are highlighted by Ethan Van Sciver’s gorgeous artwork. Overall though, this is an issue that ends up being average at best in a sea of other, better, stories.

Story

Batman: The Dawnbreaker is an interesting concept in an entertaining series that, unfortunately, feels very bland on its own. It takes Batman and Green Lantern’s origins, both of which have been seen numerous times by fans, and redoes them together. Instead of bringing something new and unique to the table, this feels like a quick rehash of the past. There is some hope for Dawnbreaker’s powers to develop into something more worthwhile, though this development is simply not present here.

(spoilers start here)

This issue starts out by detailing the Dawnbreaker’s origin. We see his parents gunned down in an alleyway, but this time something different happens. Young Bruce Wayne receives a Green Lantern ring and uses it to brutally murder Joe Chill. He then goes on to use the ring to kill all of the villains of Gotham City and, eventually, the rest of the Green Lantern Corps as well.

Though this all is certainly a twist on the traditional Batman/Green Lantern origin, it still does not feel like anything remarkably different. The biggest changeup is that Bruce is able to kill with his ring, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. It implies that Bruce, as a child, is able to do something that no one in the history of the Corps has ever done before. It sets an unbelievable premise for the rest of the book to follow.

Then we see Dawnbreaker start to take down anyone who gets in the way of his path for justice. Criminals, police officers, and the entire Green Lantern Corps fall to his power. This is the highlight of the story as it is the peak of this issue’s horror elements. Humphries’ writing and Van Sciver’s art paint a terrifying picture of death and absolute power. This is then amplified further by the realization that all of this is being done by a child.

However, just as things start getting good, they end. Dawnbreaker’s universe falls apart and he journeys into the main DC Universe. He takes on Hal Jordan for a short period of time, only for Hal to quickly be saved by Dr. Fate. Their fight only lasts two pages. It leaves out the emotional impact seen in The Red Death (Review) and The Murder Machine (Review) and just feels rushed overall.

On the subject of The Red Death (Review) and The Murder Machine (Review), this issue feels too structurally similar to both of them. Once you see Bruce become the Dawnbreaker, the formula is almost identical: he kills all the criminals, he kills the heroes who oppose him, his universe falls apart, he is saved by the Man Who Laughs, and finally he confronts his regular universe counterpart. The structural similarity compounded with a lackluster story makes this the weakest issue of Metal so far.

(spoilers end here)

Art

Who better to do a Green Lantern book than the artist of one of the most acclaimed Green Lantern comics of all time, Ethan Van Sciver? The man’s realistic, yet imaginative style perfectly captures the spirit of Green Lantern. His constructs are creepy and precise in a way where every line is purposeful and adds to the story as a whole. Honestly, Van Sciver’s artwork may be the best part about this book.

Continuity

Batman: The Dawnbreaker is part of a series of seven one-shots designed as tie-ins to Dark Nights: Metal. Most of the events in this issue flow out of Metal #2 (Review).

For more information on the timeline of the Metal event see our “Metal Timeline” right here.

This issue also references the stories from other comic books, all of which are detailed below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *