Must Read Graphic Novel or Trade of 2016 – Dark Knight: A True Batman Story (DC’s Vertigo Imprint)
Mainstream DC Universe IPs, such as Batman, rarely appear in titles under the Vertigo banner. When this occurs it is usually for special projects like Dark Knight: A True Batman Story. Writer Paul Dini shares how Batman characters have impacted his emotional well-being through his life, and how they helped him cope with a traumatic event. This emotionally raw graphic novel also shows that success does not always equate to happiness.
Dini has worked on the Batman property in animation and comics for over twenty years. He co-created Harley Quinn for Batman: The Animated Series, and transitioned the character into comic books. Aiding Dini is Argentinian artist Eduardo Risso. Risso’s striking artwork makes this graphic novel hard to put down. Risso employs a number of different art styles depending on Dini’s emotional state. During sequences involving violent acts, the hard lines that Risso used on his crime noir series 100 Bullets and his brief stint on Batman are on display. A painterly style is used to depict dreamlike sequences. As an added bonus for soap opera fans, this graphic novel features guest appearances by Arleen Sorkin (Calliope Jones from Days of Our Lives and the inspiration for Harley Quinn).
Honorable Mention – Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 (Marvel)
Black Panther celebrated his 50th anniversary by achieving two milestones. First, the character was introduced to a worldwide audience in Captain America: Civil War. Second, Marvel launched a Black Panther series written by New York’s bestselling author Ta-Nehisi Coates with art by Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin. A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 is a deep exploration of Wakandian society and Black Panther’s role. This is a dense read that is best enjoyed in collected form instead of individual issues.