Brian Azzarello’s and Lee Bermejo’s dark Batman story continues, but it lacks any kind of punch – and it’s not boosted by controversy this time. 

Batman: Damned 2 
Written by Brian Azzarello 
Art by Lee Bermejo

The FIRST ISSUE of Batman: Damned got a lot of buzz for it’s depiction – in print only – of the Dark Knight’s Dark Knight. I never saw it, because I buy digitally, and the cost of copies of the first (and only) printing went through the roof on eBay. It was a stunt that got a lot of people talking about the first official BLACK LABEL release, but no one was talking about the story (which still feels like it’s forming in issue 2) or the art (which is, as is usually the case from Lee Bermejo, gorgeous). Just Batman’s penis. 

It was an auspicious beginning for the BLACK LABEL imprint. The first issue was, unfortunately, all sizzle and no steak, as the saying goes. 

The second issue, then, brings Batman further into the mystic underbelly of Gotham City, trying to figure out what’s going on with the dead Joker from the first issue. It brings the Caped Crusader face to face with Etrigan, reimagined as an underground hip hop emcee; The Enchantress, who seems to have some connection with Bruce; and a distraught Harley Quinn, who is upset about Joker being dead and has an intense confrontation with Batman to end the issue. 

The most interesting part of the issue is the continued reimagining of Thomas and Martha Wayne as anything but the happy couple, as they’re typically depicted. Bruce’s dad seems to have a weakness for the ladies and Martha seems to kick him out. Is it any wonder the kid grew up to beat people up dressed as a six-foot bat? 

BATMAN: DAMNED could turn into a great story – especially when collected – or it could be a giant mess and I’m honestly not sure which way it’s gonna go.