Subway Shorts – Creatures

A new real-world take on DC Comics’ Dark Knight takes the character’s origins in a new direction in the first issue of the new miniseries, Batman: Creature of the Night!

Batman: Creature of the Night 1
Written by Kurt Busiek
Art by John Paul Leon and Phil Winslade

Kurt Busiek wrote one of the most celebrates Superman stories of the last 20 years, and it didn’t even really feature the Man of Steel in it. His 2004 miniseries, Superman: Secret Identity, looked at a young man in Kansas whose parents named Clark Kent. This real-world Clark was as human as the rest of us – until he wasn’t. The book examined Clark’s reactions to suddenly gaining the powers of a comic book character.

Now, Busiek is trying his hand at doing something similar with DC’s other iconic hero. Batman: Creature of the Night – the first issue of which was released on Wednesday – is a story about a young kid from Boston named Bruce Wainwright who loves Batman. And when his parents are killed during a home invasion, and when police can’t manage to find their killer, young Bruce’s thirst for vengeance manifests itself as a weird Batman-like creature that rips through Boston’s criminal underworld. The creature eventually finds the man who police think killed the Wainwrights and assures Bruce that he’ll keep Bruce safe.

Creature of the Night was billed as the “spiritual companion to the beloved SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY,” and Busiek has clearly managed to craft another heart-wrenching story set, mostly, in the real world. He does manage to get a little cute with some of the Batman mythos and how it relates to Wainwright, though it works well in the context of the story. After his parents are killed, Bruce’s only family is his uncle, Alton Frederick Jepson, who Bruce calls Alfred. There’s also police Officer Gordon Hoover. But these are just small moments included to infuse more of Batman’s world into Bruce Wainwright’s.

I don’t know if Creature of the Night will exceed – or even match – the beloved reputation of Secret Identity. Since I’ve always felt more of a connection to Superman, I kind of doubt it. But if the first issue is any indication, this new book will hold its own and offer some great moments for readers.