Written and drawn by the Italian artist Enrico Marini, Batman: The Dark Prince Charming is a project, announced a few months back by DC Comics, telling the story of a little girl that was kidnapped by the Joker, and Batman’s struggle to save her. Not a promising start, since it doesn’t sound unique at all. Fortunately, as the comic book progresses, the story truly becomes fascinating, despite the simplicity of the synopsis. This was a risky choice, given that Marini could’ve easily fallen into an incredibly banal story, but this wasn’t the case.
The most interesting thing about this comic is Alina, the little girl that Joker kidnaps. She is, supposedly, Bruce Wayne’s daughter. In the comic Alina’s mother is blackmailing Bruce Wayne: she needs money to survive and to raise her daughter. Bruce, however, doesn’t seem particularly moved by the story and lets Alina and her mother go without further ado, quickly going back to Catwoman, who has a very marginal role in this first chapter, something I truly hope will change, given Catwoman’s influence as a character.
One thing that I truly appreciated about this comic is the Joker’s characterization. He gives off some Batman: The Animated Series vibes, and the way he interacts with his henchmen and in his brief encounter with Catwoman is simply sublime. Unfortunately, though, his reaction to Harley’s behavior isn’t as spot on. Speaking of Harley Quinn, her characterization isn’t one of the best portrayals that I’ve seen of her. In fact, she comes off as very annoying and disrespectful, something that the Joker would never tolerate, but for some reason he lets it pass, which is a very out-of-character thing for him to do.
The artwork of this comic is without a doubt very simple, but beautiful and mesmerizing at the same time. Marini portrays Gotham City in such a fresh and easy way, balancing warm and cold tones, something I really appreciated and that breathes character to this comic. There’s no doubt that Marini was influenced by the Arkham video games for some of his panels, especially the ones where Batman contemplates the city.
Overall, Batman: The Dark Prince Charming is a very enjoyable reading, and I honestly hope that Marini will maintain his high standards even in the second chapter of this very intriguing story, which I’m sure is going to be full of twists.
If you haven’t read Batman: The Dark Prince Charming, you can purchase it here:
Written by Alessia, @riddlemethisv on Twitter.