BATMAN ANNUAL #3
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Publisher: DC Comics
It's not often that Annuals deliver such a poignant tale like this issue did. The story that Tom Taylor wrote is one of the most heartfelt and appealing Batman stories I've read in a long time, and it doesn't even focus on Batman. Don't let the cover fool you, this is a tale centered on Alfred.
Alfred Pennyworth might be the most important supporting characters in comics, besides Lois Lane. What Tom shows us in this issue, is just how important and selfless Alfred is in Bruce's life and how one phone call can change your life. The story starts off with that fateful night when the Wayne's were murdered. From that day forward Alfred and Bruce's lives took a drastic turn. Alfred instantly chose to do whatever was in his power to protect Bruce, and therefore became his "father".
While Bruce is out trying to stop a series of drone attacks, Alfred lays up at night in worry of his "son". The way Alfred tells Bruce that he needs rest because the last thing he should be doing is fighting crime when he has the flu, is something I've never seen before. As Bruce comes back to the cave, Alfred tells him that if he won't get rest he should at least eat something. Of course Bruce can't fly a plane and eat soup. so Alfred puts in a flask. The scene made me laugh when Alfred says, he knows its not good for Batman's image to be drinking soup from a thermos, but he won't tell his villains. That line was absolutely a perfect example of what the heart of this story is about, a father and son.
The end of the story has Alfred coming to Bruce's rescue, only to hurt himself in the process. It is here that we see Bruce become the caretaker of Alfred. He decides to stay home so that Alfred can recover without having to worry about him. This story expertly showcases the relationship between these two characters, and how much the need and mean to each other. I can't think of a better title for this story, Father's Day". Kudos Tom Taylor.
Otto Schmidt's art was absolute treat. His work on GREEN ARROW was the first introduction I had to his art, so hearing that he was on this book was a pleasant surprise. He brought every emotion through with each panel, and helped bring Taylor's phenomenal script to life. Each scene was perfectly choreographed and makes me yearn for a Batman book illustrated by him.
While there were many great books released this week, this book definitely is at the top of the list. This is a must read for any Batman fan. The writing and art were both superbly executed. Taylor showed a deep understanding of these two characters and one can only imagine what he would do if given the chance to chronicle their stories in an ongoing basis.