cover image The Black Sinister

The Black Sinister

Kaare Andrews, Troy Nixey, and Dave McCaig. Dark Horse, $9.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-50670-337-4

This comic asks how a Gotham-like city would fare if its Batman were a total jerk. Writer Andrews (Incredible Hulk) and artist Nixey (Harley Quinn, Batman) clearly have a deep love of the superhero genre and an equally deep desire to mock it. Their chosen setting, Coal City, is choked with pollution, and its two industries, mining and electricity, are both monopolies controlled by a single man, Emerson Black. Heir to the Black fortune, he is an unprincipled egomaniac with an Oedipus complex who rides through the skies in a tight mask and a flying, bat-winged car as the Black Sinister, a “hero” who murders and maims citizens with impunity. This grim story is lightened by the rich, whimsical illustrations, and the world is crammed with steampunk machinery, faux-Victorian costumes, and cartoonishly expressive faces. Virtuoso scenes of extreme perspective are handled effortlessly as the city crumbles from misguided aid in this slight but enjoyable tale. (Aug.)