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Batman: Ego (DC Comics, 2000)

Hi folks!  It's time once again for me to spread the good word about Darwyn Cooke.

From the get-go, this is a different kind of Batman story.  The Caped Crusader has been on the beat for about three years, and he has begun to question his mission.  Does he do good, or is he simply creating new problems?  Has he helped Gotham or left the people he crosses paths with more vulnerable?  With these questions in mind, an informant’s commission of a murder-suicide out of fear of reprisal from the Joker sends Batman into a crisis of conscience.

Cooke’s exploration of Batman’s inner demons reminds me of the way Moon Knight is often portrayed.  Bruce’s doubts about his mission take the form of a hulking, Khonshu-esque Batman.  The two confront each other in the Batcave when Bruce decides he is ready to hang up the cowl.  It’s an interesting exploration of Bruce’s anxieties—and the idea that Batman comes from some dark passenger that pre-exists Martha and Thomas’s deaths.


I…don’t have to tell you that Darwyn Cooke’s art is amazing at this point, do I?  Just in case:  Darwyn Cooke’s art is amazing.  In Batman: Ego, he bends his usual pulp style into something more anxious.  Panel layouts are often claustrophobic.  There are stretches of pages containing tight series of disconnected images, shifting with Bruce’s mind.  It’s like visual free association, racing at the speed of fear.

I have no doubt that there is a class of Batman purist out there that will be turned off by this.  But take it on its own.  Take it as an exploration of character and psychology.  As a psychical Elseworlds, if you will.  It’s an interesting read and take, and its art is a unique flavor of Darwyn Cooke.

Collected in

  • Batman: Ego and Other Tails


Writer: Darwyn Cooke | Artist: Darwyn Cooke | Letterer: Jonathan Babcock

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