The origins of the Dark Batmen, the Dark Knights, continues with Batman The Dawnbreaker. In this issue, a Batman of the Dark Multiverse has a Green Lantern ring. We have previously seen Batman gain use of the Speed Force (Batman The Red Death) and cybernetic abilities (Batman The Murder Machine). So, how did the Batman of Earth -32 (negative 32) get a hold of a Green Lantern ring? Simple, it chose him.
As the mugger kills Bruce Wayne’s parents, young Bruce realizes that he feels nothing. Not even fear. It is just a void inside of him. A Green Lantern ring mistakes this lack of fear as overcoming fear, and selects Bruce Wayne. Now having possibly the most powerful weapon in the universe, Bruce tries to get revenge on the mugger. Initially, the ring resists, because it is prohibited from using lethal force. However, Bruce’s will overpowers the ring, and the void that is within him begins to inhabit the ring.
Like the other Dark Batmen, The Dawnbreaker goes on a killing spree. Compound this power with Bruce still being a child, and you have a person willing to kill anyone that evens questions his action, as you see him do when he obliterates Jim Gordon. After some time, the Green Lantern Corps comes to take his ring, but Bruce has no issues with them.
I did like how writer Sam Humphries explains Bruce’s real power with the ring here, and later on after he travels to Earth-0 and is confronted by Hal Jordan. As the void in Bruce Wayne infected the ring, it became possible to project a void from that ring. As well as still being able to create constructs that would inhabit that void. This void is capable of creating blackouts. A Green Lantern ring needs light, any light to function. This seems like a new development to me, but it’s been a while since I have read any Green Lantern comics, and I doubt this situation has come up. Darkness? Sure. Completely devoid of any light? Probably not.
I do not see any issues with that. A Green Lantern creates light constructs. If you have a person capable of creating an environment that does not allow light to happen, it makes sense that a Green Lantern would be powerless. It is not any less believable than they just cannot effect any yellow objects. After defeating the Corps, Bruce still feels empty, and decides he does not want to be a Green Lantern anymore, and becomes Batman, but with the ring of course. And then his world ends.
Batman the Dawnbreaker is picked up by the Batman Who Laughs, who already has The Red Death and The Murder Machine in tow. He promises that Barbatos will give him back his parents if he serves him. Of course The Dawnbreaker joins up, and ends up attacking Coast City. Hal Jordan confronts him, but is engulfed in the void. At the last minute, Doctor Fate shows up and rescues him.
I liked having Ethan Van Sciver on art for this issue. He is one of my favorite Green Lantern artists. The void constructs he was able to create are the stuff of nightmares. It was also wise choice that the monstrosity Bruce creates when he first gets the ring is fairly simple. Not very well constructed. When the Corps confronts him, he has a little more experience, so he is able to make a much larger construct, but it is still fairly ill defined. The constructs created at the end of the issue are well defined, acting independently of each other.
Also, as The Dawnbreaker’s world is ending Van Sciver uses a series of progressively smaller panels to simulate the collapse of his world into nothingness. While I like the technique, I think it could have been done better. Those panels sit on the first page of a two page spread. on the second page, you see The Dawnbreaker drifting in debris. That is followed on the next page by the Batman Who Laughs giving his proposal. I feel that the effect would have been stronger if the shrinking panels had been the second page. That way the panels shrink into the nothingness that is the edge of the page. Then you could still have the word balloon of the Batman Who Laughs to guide the reader to the next page.
And that is a nitpick complaint to have, but the issue is so well done, all there is room for is nit picks. This series continues to entertain, showing what Batman could have been if one of his fears had come true. In this issue, it seems like that fear is losing the ability to feel anything. I encourage you to check out this, and the other tie-ins to Metal.