This is a superb collection of Batman stories, stark and well crafted, each story reflecting and focusing on an aspect of Batman’s personality and nocturnal career.
In Perpetual Mouring, Ted McKeever focuses on the aspect of Batman being a detective, set in a mortuary, Batman is seen examining a corpse, alone. He not only reconstructs the scene of her murder as he investigates her body, but also talks to her in a compassionate monologue which illustrates great empathy with the victim. It’s an aspect of his career which sometimes gets lost in the more action orientated scenarios that are predominately focused on recently.
The last few panels show Batman walk to the diner where the victim spent her last last few hours, he has deduced that this was one of the only places where she could have eaten that particular variety of Blueberry Pie. He carries a picture of the victim and passes it around, the waitress recognises her and breaks down, crying at the incomprehensible nature of the violence and evil in the City .
Batman walks to the table that the waitress indicated that the victim last sat at, he looks at the table and constructs what she may have thought, felt and reflects on what I personally believe is the great sin of murder. The taking away of the victims hopes, dreams and possibilities, he reflects on this with great sorrow. The story ends with Batman not catching the criminal who did this – although we, the reader have no doubt that he will, but with the sad reflection of another life lost in Gotham.
In Two of a Kind, We see a miracle performed, Harvey Dent becomes the recipient of a ground breaking facial surgery and seemingly becomes ‘healed’ – the two sides of his personality are assumed to be as united as his face. We then are treated to scenes of a whirlwind romance, where Harvey falls in love with his surgeon – a beautiful young lady who also hides a secret. She has a twin sister, someone who exhibits the opposite characteristic traits, a ‘darker half’ – understandable she is worried that this revelation will disturb Harvey.
Of course it does
Her sister becomes obsessed with Harvey and he can’t help himself, he betrays his fiance, wracked with guilt he breaks it off with the darker Madeline. So she kills her sister – Harvey then makes a choice to burn half of his face in a searing fire in order to bring his Two Face personality to the fore again, and do what plain old Harvey Dent could never do.
Written and illustrated by Bruce Tim, it obviously evokes the mood of the Batman Animated show, beautifully clean lines and subtle suggestions abound in this short story. As events begin to spiral out of control for Harvey, Bruce draws slightly more lines on Harvey’s right side of the face, foreshadowing the return of his alter ego.