‘Batman: Through the Looking Glass’ Review

I’m always excited to get my hands on a new original graphic novel featuring Batman, the kind you can sit down and read without any knowledge of what’s going on within the realm of the monthly titles and stands on its own. That’s exactly what we get with Bruce Jones and Sam Keith’s “Batman: Through the Looking Glass.” However, that’s not enough in this case.

“Batman: Through the Looking Glass” explores the Dark Knight’s first encounter with the Mad Hatter, the hero led into Wonderland by a white rabbit and his long-dead childhood friend. The characters Batman encounters in the magical land strangely resemble real people involved in crimes he’s been trying to solve. Meanwhile, Alfred and Robin fear the Caped Crusader has flipped his lid and is slipping into an imaginary world he is manufacturing for himself.

I wish I could say I was more impressed with the story Jones penned for this. For some reason, it didn’t thrill me or keep me mesmerized. The whole thing feels like a great concept that’s not fully realized. The motivations and the crimes behind them are lackluster and unexciting. It left me at the end of the case shrugging my shoulders and saying, “That’s it?” The actual final page of the book is wonderful, giving it a mysterious and supernatural slant I wish was present throughout the rest of the pages.

Keith’s artwork for the book is unique. It fits the dream world we are thrown into. There’s no sense of realism at all. One interesting thing to note is his depiction of Robin. Robin is a short, stocky youth with curly hair. He reminded me very much of how his character looks in the old 1949 “Batman and Robin” movie serial as portrayed by John Duncan.

The illustrations mix classic looking art with cartoon imagery that borders on abstract at times. I can’t say I’m a big fan of it, but one thing I will give Keith is it’s different. Colorist David Baron did a great job accentuating the penciling. He makes each panel pop out at the reader.

I don’t want to give readers the idea that “Through the Looking Glass” isn’t worth reading. It’s a graphic novel featuring the Dark Knight, and fans need to add it to their collection. Is it going to be looked at 10 or 20 years down the road the same way “The Dark Knight Returns” or “Arkham Asylum” are? No way. Will it be looked at 10 or 20 years down the road as the misfire “The Dark Knight Strikes Again” is considered to be? No, it won’t. That’s the real problem. It’s not going to be considered good or bad. Chances are it won’t be considered at all.

For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:

‘The Annotated Sandman’ Will Thrill Fans of Neil Gaiman
‘The Ray’ Writers Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti Discuss the New Version
Expert Editor Leslie Klinger Talks About ‘The Annotated Sandman’

Eric Shirey is the founder and editor of Rondo Award nominated movie and comic book news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other national entertainment websites. Besides his three decades long obsession with everything sci-fi, horror, and fantasy related in TV and movies, Eric has what some would call an unhealthy love for comic books. This has led him to interviewing and covering legendary writers and artists in the medium like Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson, and Howard Chaykin.

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