An elderly Bruce Wayne is asked by his granddaughter to retell one of the old stories of Batman. She picks the Case of the Chemical Syndicate, and Bruce recalls the events of his first detective case.
Things are off, and his mind trails to prehistoric man and the lives of his ancestors. All of this serves to remind Batman of one thing:
He is lost in the Dark Multiverse.
This comic, among other things, serves as a sincere love letter to the Caped Crusader on behalf of the creators who love him. If you've followed my tenure on Bleeding Cool, you know my personal feelings on the Dark Knight. However, I can't help but grin at how much Snyder, Tynion, and the other creators clearly, truly love the Batman. That's good for them, and I can more than share in their joy here.
This comic loves Batman, warts and all. It shows its affection without making him inhumanly good or intuitive. In fact, it's quite the opposite. You get to see some truly dark and lost moments for the detective. He is at one of his lowest moments here, and that is saying something for Batman given his life history.
The comic goes to some weird and wild places, from the dawn of man where Bruce was sent by Darkseid years ago, to a ritual sacrifice performed by Alan Wayne, a dystopian future where Joker fanatics have overrun Gotham, and a spaceship where Batman and Harley Quinn are fleeing a fallen Earth.
What hasn't already been told as its own story feels like potential future Batman or Justice League stories and graphic novels.
The comic is a very enthralling trip down the rabbit hole that is Bruce's mind and the Dark Multiverse. Barbatos is shown as more of its own personality instead of us knowing him through Kendra Saunders or the Batman Who Laughs. He is malicious, and he is driving Bruce Wayne deep into eldritch madness.
As a fan of Lovecraft's work, I'm all on board for dark gods driving men mad.
The artists do some fine work. Mahnke, Paquette, and Jimenez put forth some astonishing panels and tapestries for this comic. The color artists Quintana, Fairbairn, and Sanchez keep the colors balanced and eye-catching. This is a lively comic, and the changing realities actually justify the shifting styles very well; hence me not complaining about that here.
Despite being a lot more Batman-centric than a lot of Metal and its one-shot tie-ins, I greatly enjoyed Batman Lost. It adores its protagonist without deifying him, it is a good mind trip of a story, and the art is gorgeous. It's an endearing yet pitch-black read, and it shows a far more vulnerable Batman than I'm used to. That's a good thing, by the way. I highly recommend this continued telling of Metal. Pick it up.
My favorite Batman story is Hush, by the way. I just dig it so much. Hush is a great villain.