EARTH 2 / DREDD – UNDERBELLY [Reviews]: Oh, the In’MUTANT’ity…

Then we find out that Tommy and Martha Wayne were hard-partying drug addicts and drug pushers (up until they have Bruce that is, and decide to change their partying ways). And this leads to Batman/Bruce meeting up with an old friend who wants nothing more than for Frankie to be dead (we’re back in 1994 at this point). And spoilers are on, kiddies.

Chris Cooper gets all the good roles.

Writer Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us) lays on the swerve pretty quick, making you think the culprit, the guy attacking and maiming Frankie’s family and goons is Jarvis Pennyworth, but we find out it’s Thomas Wayne, still alive. Faked his death with the help of Leslie Tompkins and everything.

Thomas Wayne is addicted to Miraclo in 1994 (the same drug that gives Hourman his powers, soon to be a hit TV show on the CW!). Thus, Tommy and Brucie have a big bitchfest where Bruce calls him evil and a villain and everything he’s fighting to put away; T calls the whambulance on a Brucie in dire need of a whamburger and French Cries (brought to you by Miraclo, yummy drugs for an hour of power!). That’s pretty much it.

We flash forward to 2014 and find out that he’s telling all of this to two other members of the team (Hawkgirl and Lois, who he knows would have just figured it out anyway) and that Thomas looked in on his son periodically and watched him grow and watched his granddaughter grow. You know, all kinds of normal stuff in stories like this.

As an overall story, everyone knew that Thomas Wayne would end up being revealed as the 65-year old badass Batman we’ve always wanted: the one that fits into the world a little better because he’s a beast and takes drugs and kicks ass. He’s still addicted to Miraclo, he’s still kicking ass, and everyone he loves is dead so he can’t let anyone down. That’s a Batman for the movie fans and the Dark Knight Returns fans out there. That’s a Batman who will get the job done, one neck snap at a time.

Still, it was a paint-by-numbers story. Everything fit into place at the end. No big surprises. No shocks. No shock and awe and nothing really out of the ordinary. The story itself did the job it meant to do, telling a different kind of Batman’s different kind of origin. And the artwork by Robson Rocha (possibly the best name in comics this side of Francesco Francavilla) gets the job done too. At time it flourishes and other times it just tells a clean story.

3.5 (out of 5) Bibles. Had the swerve been Jarvis Pennyworth and the story had a bit more mystery to it, it may have been more, but as it stands, it works for what it is.

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