Author: Tracy Hickman
Publisher: It Books
Published: June 26, 2012
Hardcover, 296 pages
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Two men separated by murder: Thomas, the rebellious doctor and heir to the vast Wayne empire, and Bruce, his son, whose life is forever altered by witnessing his parents' murder. The slaying of Thomas and Martha Wayne is the torturous point on which Bruce turns to become Batman.
The Dark Knight's file on the case has long been closed, the foundations of Bruce Wayne's secret life secure in the simple genesis of a mugging gone horribly wrong.
These foundations are shaken, however, when an unexpected guest invades the grounds of Wayne Manor, raising questions about the event that ended the lives of the mother he loved and the father he worshipped, and sparked his unquenchable drive to protect and avenge.
To discover his real family history, Batman must face down old foes, his only confidant, and the evil heart of Arkham Asylum, and shoulder the new burden of a dark legacy.
I guess I’m what you would call a little above a casual Batman fan. I don’t own the comic books/graphic novels, I’ve read some of them, seen the movies and many of the animated versions that have come out over the years. As such a fan, I would say this is an excellent book. I really enjoyed reading more about the Wayne family history. This story focuses on an older, reclusive, Howard Hughes type Bruce Wayne/ Batman. He is not the playboy, bachelor-of-the-year Bruce that you are used to seeing portrayed. There is a villain that remains a mystery for most of the book that is always one step ahead of Batman. This villain is planting documents that implicate the Wayne family in some pretty precarious situations, and Bruce is having real difficulty handling his foundations of this great man, that was his father, being raked through the mud.
The characters, while familiar, are different. They are older and tired. The weight of Batman has taken its toll on not only Bruce but those around him as well. The characters of Bruce and Alfred are given special attention and are portrayed very well. Many familiar villains make what can only be described as cameo appearances. I thought the sequences dealing with Thomas and Martha Wayne, and the other characters from the past were integrated well. The sequences began as journal entries, newspaper stories and the like, then becoming fully fleshed out chapters of their own.
Overall this was a fantastic read. Wonderful storytelling, great details, and deeply troubled characters are this story’s backbone. It kept me riveted from beginning to end. I couldn’t wait to find out who the villain was. I can’t fully speak to the true Batman-o-phial out there as to whether the backstory conflicts with any already existing stories , but from the casual fan, I think this is a must read.