4 star, YA

Review: Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Series: DC Icons #2

batman nightwalker -marie luBefore he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

4 Drink Me Potions

Out of the many superheroes out there, I must admit, Batman is by far a character I struggle with. His vigilante-ism and need to do everything on his own because he thinks he can do it better? Yeah, that totally rubs me wrong.

Yet, Batman: Nightwalker showed me a side of young Bruce Wayne – before he was the Dark Knight who embodied certain characteristics I admire less of – that I actually loved.

Marie Lu created a version of Gotham City that yes, still crawled with bad guys and corruption, but seemed redeemable with a couple of hardworking good guys protecting it. Here, young Bruce – oh my goodness, teenager Bruce – seemed almost human. Not your deep voiced, not-scared-of-anything Batman yet.

The Nightwalkers are a mysterious gang that’s threatened the rich of Gotham City. Much like the kinds of people Bruce’s family associated with. It may seem like the story is your simple stop the bad guys at whatever cost campaign, but the intriguing antagonist (OR IS SHE?) Madeleine definitely delivered a whomping punch that left me wanting more and more.

My favourite parts were definitely the conversations between Bruce and Madeleine. The way she read him, while he in turn tried to figure her out in order to stop the madness that’s happening to his city. Oh, and the subtle underlying (romantic) tensions were absolutely delightful!

“We’re not a very smart match, are we? I can’t think of a story where the billionaire and the murderer end up happily ever after.”

I find romance doesn’t have to always be explicit – this isn’t your regular love story either – and this was the perfect amount to include in a story that focused on a step in Bruce’s journey to becoming a strong protector against a corrupt city.

As a side note to those he are actually avid superhero fans (I’m sorry to admit I’m not the hugest one), fun (and younger) versions of familiar Batman universe characters made appearances too. Just to name a few to get your blood boiling, Harvey Dent and James Gordon may be familiar to most of you.

Equal parts hopeful (I never thought I’d say that about anything related to Batman) and thought provoking, Batman: Nightwalker delivered a brilliant story of a boy on the cusp of manhood and heroism that may have changed his life’s path forever. Full of action scenes and witty conversations with intriguing characters, I loved this book more than I could’ve imagined and raced through it in one short sitting. I’m so glad you don’t even have to read all the books in this series in order either! Jump right in to the world of the Dark Knight, before he has fully figured himself out. I dare you.

Overall Recommendation:
As superhero stories go, I generally stay pretty far away from Batman but Batman: Nightwalker surprised me with its intelligently crafted characters – both heroes AND villains – and excellent pacing that drove my heart racing as I flipped through the pages. This shorter novel was the perfect prequel into Bruce Wayne’s life, and perhaps some events that led him down the road of heroism/vigilante-ism. I couldn’t put it down! Whether you’re a DC superhero fan or not, I think this book is worth checking out for anyone familiar with the name Batman.

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