Fresh off of a team-up with the Man of Steel and a battle with the living dead, Batman returns in Batman Confidential for a done-in-one story that examines the Dark Knight’s though process as he dissects a crime scene and pursues a fugitive killer.
A cynic would look at this issue, coming only one month shy of next month’s anniversary issue #50, and see a space-filler…and that cynic would probably be right.Comic publishers do typically keep stories in the can for just such an occasion.
Having said that, Batman Confidential’s thematic predecessor (Legends of the Dark Knight) was famous for classic stories appearing as simple one-shots. The nature of the book, where writers are able to tell Batman stories set in any time period, lends itself nicely to character studies and psychological profiles, so there’s reason to be optimistic about this.
On the other hand, sometimes a fill-in is just a fill-in.
Batman: Hidden Treasures
Not a mini or part of the regular, everyday continuity of the Batman universe, Hidden Treasures is similar to the Dark Knight himself: something of an urban legend.A collaboration between Ron Marz and legendary artist Bernie Wrightson, the story has languished on the back-burner (stuck in the proverbial drawer of DC editorial) for over ten years since the death of editor Archie Goodwin. More than that, the project itself first began to take shape almost fifteen years ago.
As previously stated, Hidden Treasures has no connection to the current DCU timeline. Instead, it’s a throw-back tale of Bruce Wayne and Solomon Grundy, the perpetually misunderstood “villain.” The highlight of the issue promises to be not Marz’s story (no offense to Marz intended), but Wrightson’s art, which for this issue has been given the splash page treatment: literally all twenty-two pages are single panels, with Marz’s text and dialogue in boxes along the bottom of the page.
Additionally, DC has thrown in (to round out the $5 price tag) a reprint of a classic Wrightson Batman story. This one is from the pre-Alan Moore Swamp Thing run, when Wrightson teamed with Len Wein.
In contrast to this week, next week is busting at the seams, with Return of Bruce Wayne, the debut of Paul Cornell’s Knight & Squire mini, Outsiders, and four of the eight “The Road Home” one-shots all shipping on the same day.