Batman Nightwalker: Review
Long time no see, friends! It's been nearly a month since my last blog post and I've been itching to get back at it after falling off the wagon. After a couple of vacations and getaways, a fruitless attempt to finish NaNoWriMo, preparing my Etsy shop for the holidays, and finishing a project for my web development course- it was extremely difficult to sit down and find the time to crank these out. Specifically carving out the time every week to write for my blog will definitely be a 2018 resolution of mine- it's extremely therapeutic!
Today, I'm reviewing an advanced reader's copy of Batman: Nightwalker, by Marie Lu. This is the next in Penguin's D.C. Icons novelizations, the first being Leigh Bardugo's amazing Wonder Woman: Warbringer. I had extremely high expectations for this book. After watching Justice League recently (which I was extremely disappointed by), I could use a reminder of why D.C. heroes are so iconic and so much more than the broody silver screen characters that Zac Snyder delivered.
*I received a free advanced copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.*
Before 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.
I'm just going to reiterate that I went into Batman: Nightwalker with sky-high expectations. Like, out of this world hopes that this young version of Bruce Wayne could be everything we'd ever hoped for, for an iconic superhero whose development into adulthood is largely untouched. And disclosure: I was a bit disappointed.
This story is unlike anything you've read before. It's not adapted from the comics nor movies- it is a completely unique story that Lu created, which is impressive and I must give credit where credit is due. This version of Bruce Wayne is naive and curious, a bit reckless with a dash of arrogance. He's just come into his inheritance and has started his education to take over WayneTech. Lu attempts to turn Bruce Wayne into a relatable teenager... but I don't think readers want just any old teenager dealing with high school woes. Wayne did not have an opportunity to showcase his intellect and the highly entertaining action sequences where he was able to show off his physical abilities were not satisfying nor long enough. This feels extremely disparate from Diane Prince in Leigh Bardugo's Wonder Woman: Warbringer because though the teenage version of the Amazon princess was set in modern-day New York, she still felt quintessentially like the Wonder Woman we know and love. She was quirky in all the right ways, with a heart full of justice and love. This iteration of Bruce Wayne was too green around the ears.
I was not emotionally invested in this book at all. I did not care for Bruce Wayne as I'd hoped to, for the reasons stated above. At a whopping 272 pages (/sarcasm), the plot moves like a thirty-minute episode of Batman Beyond, which is to say that it moved quickly and was far too short. There were some extremely strong action sequences, but after I closed the back over of the book, I couldn't find anything particularly noteworthy about what I'd just read.
At its core, Batman: Nightwalker is a classic Marie Lu book, though her stories tend to need trilogies to be able reach their full potential. And maybe that's why this book fell short for me- because there wasn't enough pages to properly develop young Bruce Wayne. Alfred was a gem, much to my delight, as was the cast of supporting characters including childhood best friend Harvey Dent