Here Comes a Candle

Batman: The Black Glove, written by Grant Morrison, illustrated by J.H. Williams III, Tony Daniel and Ryan Benjamin (2007-2008): The main story herein sees Morrison use another story from Batman’s much-reviled 1950’s and early 1960’s adventures as a key element in the ongoing 5-year-+ epic that is Morrison’s Batman now.

The Club of Heroes: a mostly forgotten group of Batman-like heroes from various countries, brought together years ago by reclusive billionaire Mayhew, and now brought together again by Mayhew on his private island to…solve Mayhew’s death. But it’s a trap, part of mysterious super-crime collective The Black Glove’s annual wagering-festival that pits Good against Evil for the pleasure and gambling entertainment of a handful of depraved super-criminal billionaires (handful? The Black Glove? get it?).

The most popular of these Club characters — England’s Knight and Squire — had appeared before in Morrison’s Justice League work, and now have their own (enjoyable) miniseries written by Paul Cornell. The rest — the Musketeer, the Legionary, Wingman (!!!) — are all reintroduced into Batman continuity here, so far as I know. They squabble a bit, still irritated that the Club of Heroes fell apart primarily because Batman had better things to do than join another superhero group (he was already in the Justice League at the time). And the Black Glove starts killing them off, one by one.

The art by J.H. Williams is gorgeous as usual, though a couple of shattered-glass-layout pages require a bit too much parsing to be enjoyable. That may not be his fault, though, as Morrison tends to lay out the layouts himself most of the time. The whole thing is weird, occasionally creepy fun, and, as it will eventually turn out, a reborn Club of Heroes will soon be key to the survival of Gotham City itself once The Black Glove — and its mysterious leader — finally goes all in to destroy Batman, all of his friends and allies, and Gotham City itself. Highly recommended.

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