Metal continues its exploration through the Batman League with its Cyborg analogue, the Murder Machine.
On another world, Alfred Pennyworth is brutally murdered by the enemies of the Batman. In a fit of grief, he requests that Cyborg helps him finish the Alfred Protocol, a means of turning Alfred into an AI that can watch over Bruce forever. Unfortunately, the program turns malicious, and he kills all of Batman’s rogues. Cyborg tries to get him to stop Alfred, but Bruce refuses. He accepts Alfred, and the two become the Murder Machine.
I love that ridiculous name.
This Batman fights the Cyborg of our world as part of Barbatos’s plan to overtake our world.
This comic highlights one of the things about Batman that I do like: his relationship with Alfred. The father-son relationship they have is quite endearing, and it feels disrespected too often whenever Bruce bemoans the parents he no longer has as opposed to the one he’s always had.
I’m not downplaying dead parents here — well, I kind of am — but the point is it feels kind of cruel to Alfred to obsess over wishing that he had other parents in a way. Focusing on this relationship and highlighting its importance also compares well with Cyborg’s own complicated relationship with his father.
It also focuses on Bruce’s obsessive nature, which is one of those all-important flaws of his which get overlooked too often. Batman is kinda crazy, and one of the things that feed that craziness is his exceedingly obsessive personality. His war, his parents, his codes; these things are at least in part fueled by his obsessive personality. So, seeing a Batman where that obsessiveness overtakes him is an interesting character study.
The art in this comic is incredible. Riccardo Federici has a great style that mixes highly-detailed texture and semi-alien removal. It looks so real, and yet it looks like another world. It shocked me with its beauty from the first page onwards, and I hope to see more of his work in the near future.
The color work Rain Beredo, which adds to the alien feeling of Federici’s style, cannot be overlooked either. The two put together a cold and unnerving atmosphere, supporting the harsh and morbid narrative.
Like Red Death, Murder Machine adds another cool story behind one of the members of Barbatos’s Bat-League. It fleshes out their world in a delightfully macabre manner, and I recommend it.
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