Anthology specials are often are far between in today’s comics, after being a lot more common years ago. It’s why Batman Secret Files is a welcome surprise, especially considering the caliber of creators involved.
The issue features short stories from Tom King, Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, & Clayton Cowles; Ram V, Jorge Fornes, Matt Wilson & Steve Wands; Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Elena Casagrande, Bellaire, & Deron Bennett; Bellaire, Jill Thompson, Trish Mulvhill, & Cowles; and Tom Taylor, Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy, Bellaire, & Tom Napolitano. As with any special like this, some stories land better than others, but in this case they’re all relatively good.
The stories are revolve around the theme of King’s Batman as well, exploring Batman as a person. It starts with King and Janin’s story about Bruce Wayne starting to realize his mortality, and ends with Taylor and Walker’s story of Batman learning about his humanity from a chimpanzee.
The other stories fit the theme in different ways. Ram and Fornes tell a story about how Batman got a cop through a horrifying situation. Eaton and Casagrande gives Batman a difficult decision that could cost both Wayne Enterprises and a young woman. Bellaire and Thompson’s story focuses on the value Bruce puts on life.
While the first and last story are definitely the highlights, each story is well done, and worth reading. The varying art styles really works to the book’s benefit as well. Keeping away from the DC house style means each story is distinct and interesting.
In the end, it’s not a can’t miss issue, but it is a very good one that’s worth picking up for any Batman fan.
Batman Secret Files is available now from DC Comics.