Darwyn Cooke : Batman Ego
Darwyn Cooke "Batman Ego"
DC Comics has published a 200 page collection of Darwyn Cooke's Batman comics, including material from his solo (DC Comics Solo #5) comic from 2005, also Gotham Knights, Selina's Big Score, plus Tim Sale's Solo book (DC Comics Solo #1) where Sale and Cooke shared story chores (which they are doing currently on the Superman Confidential book - - though, in that book, it looks like Sales' art style has dominance.)
The specific story Batman Ego has Cooke wrestling with the Batman premise from the character's oft' told origin, especially the dilemma of whether to kill or not. Included is the obligatory retelling of Bruce Wayne's parents demise (which Cooke handles with some deftness, though contributing nothing new that is not already written in stone at DC Comics since Frank MIller's Dark Knight Returns. I wish Wayne's mother could wear some other jewelry for a change, since as soon as the origin story begins to be recounted, you know those pearls are going to get slapped on, along with the mention of Zorro).
In the tale, the main issue is a Batman, weak and delirious from blood-loss, having a period of psychosis in which Bruce Wayne and a grim (and extra-large) Batman figure do a Charles Dicken's Christmas Carole journey into the past, and also mount a monumental argument about how to continue their mission to fight criminal kind. Killing the Joker is bandied about, with the question of whether it would be better to kill off a mass-murdering crazy man, or if there is a moral issue more important than the body count. Or, I would guess, DC Comics sales figures.)
Cooke's design sense is so strong, and the stripped-down, simplified artwork communicates so directly his story points, the book is a marvel of comic book style. Since the stories cover a number of years, on display is Cooke's development and experiments with looser linework.
Below are two pages from the aforementioned "Ego" - click to view larger versions.
Artwork image of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman
Original Page Friday, July 13, 2007 | Updated December 2011