Batman Damned #3 Cover
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Writer: Brian Azzarello / Artist: Lee Bermejo / DC COMICS

Fear and Audacity

We begin in a casket. Batman Damned #3 uses poetics as an anchor to showcase the consequences of fear and control. Not only does Brian Azzarello deliver with the bars, the assist Lee Bermejo is bringing with the artistic components is sickening. The panels are delivering lines about the illusion of control and its comparison to fear. Honestly, I never felt so dragged in the first page of a comic book a day in my life. The Batman Damned series brought you the different layers of fear. How our past torments us, to the inhibition of being alert, right down to the illusion of control. Batman Damned raises the question:

What does it mean to be spiritually moved by the entity that destroys us?

A casket as a singular image is a great representation of what it means to be locked in an illusion of control. The casket symbolizes the absence of control. One is unable to control their fate; they are essentially trapped in a dirt with scavengers coming to ravage their bones. When you’re buried alive, the ability to take control is limited.

The pressure from underground pushes the ends of the casket together making it difficult to break. Even breaking it will be an issue, as dirt can fill in easily through a cavity. Batman’s need for control is rewarded with turmoil. The fear of making the wrong decision yet, every path leads to something unfortunate.

The Azzarello-Bermejo team gave anxiety a voice in the accumulation Batman Damned. Batman Damned #3 highlights our fears as they come to life.

The materialized demons rise and punishes us for wanting to keep them out.

The flush of red and blue highlights in the flashbacks; the color of sirens as an indicator of the past reveals Batman’s relationship to his trauma. It never loses intensity, rather it keeps revealing itself as another demon reinforcing another illusion. The difference between this entry and the previous issues is that even through the art we can see Batman gaining his control back. In previous issues, we saw his shakiness and the merging of red and blues, his body at standstill. In this, even sudden movements feel calculated in spite of the fear inhibiting his body.

Batman Damned #3 helped me question the idea of letting go. What does letting go of your fears look like? What is it rooted in, and why does it still affect the decisions you make now? I learned about my own trauma in Batman Damned. Honestly, this limited series was an amazing trip that challenges readers to reflect on their own decisions, their relationship to control, and its ability to inhibit us from making decisions healthy for us.

9.2 Existential Batarangs out of 10

Reading Batman Damned? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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  • Khadjiah Johnson is a Caribbean-American writer and humor advocate who uses poetry and comedy as a leverage to empathize and uplift. Her work has taken her to Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, Apollo Theater, BET, Off-Broadway and many more! She hopes to use her talents to sway her way into the writers room for a Late Night Comedy Show.

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  • atepis

    Thank you for your insights on Batman: Damned!

    I just finished reading the collected issue and am very impressed both with the art and the narrative. I must admit that I have not fully understood it yet – if that is even possible; maybe the point of this novel is more making the reader think about the questions it asks.
    Your thoughts on the antagonism of fear and control make perfect sense, and I never noticed the coloring being tied to different modes of the story.
    I will definitely read it a second time and pay more attention to that.

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