Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons Series) by Marie Lu
**Spoiler Free Review**
I am going to preface this the same why I prefaced Wonder Woman Warbringer—I am by no means a superhero expert and I do not claim to be. I have not read anything superhero-related outside of the DC Icons series, I have not read the comic books, but I have seen some movies. I am approaching this book from the perspective of someone who loves reading young adult books and as a different approach to a classic notion.
Young Bruce Wayne is an eighteen-year old about to graduate high school. Instead of spending all of his free time counting down the days until college and enjoying a summer of freedom, Bruce lands himself weeks of community service and doing hard labor in Arkham Asylum. Bruce must navigate through a dangerous set of circumstances because Gotham City may depend on what information he can obtain from a prisoner within the Asylum.
One moment in this book that I enjoyed was when the women were harassing and catcalling Bruce when he mops the floors of the Asylum. He understands the frustrations of his best friend and what she goes through. While it is a minor detail, I think it makes Bruce realize that there is more to other people than their looks. Not to mention, this is just an important life lesson for everyone to learn.
There are two main characters in this book: Bruce Wayne and Madeline Wallace.
Madeline is a young girl who at first glance appears harmless, but she is everything but. She is manipulative and highly intelligent. She refuses to talk to anyone within the Asylum no matter how long the interrogations are. The only person she confides in is Bruce Wayne. She slowly opens up and tells him her story. However, everything she tells him in laced with half-truths and intertwining lies. She plays with Bruce, using his sympathy against him but also warning him about upcoming dangers. Madeline is a wonderfully written character. She’s complex and when you think you have her figured out she makes a decision or says something that keeps you questioning. I enjoyed reading about her.
On the other hand, Bruce feels stereotypical. He is a lonely rich kid who thinks he’s above consequence. He acts on impulse and that is not always a good thing. While he has good instincts, he lets his emotions cloud his judgment. This makes him easy to toy with. He is also somewhat naïve. He does grow a little over the course of the novel but I came away thinking that this Bruce Wayne was flat.
The underlying theme of this book comes from my favorite passage in this book:
“You are a person living in black-and-white world. You know that, somewhere, color must exist…you read every book…research it day and night…You can tell me everything there is to know about color, even though you’ve never seen it… One day, you see color. Would you know it? Would you recognize it? Can you ever truly comprehend anything about something, or someone…unless you experience it for yourself?”
Not everything is black and white, it’s important to see in between because that’s where the best people and intentions are.
I enjoyed this book overall, but I think it fell a little short compared to Wonder Woman: Warbringer. I am excited to see the other books in this series and how each other turns a classic character into something new.