Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Batman: Nightwalker is the latest entry in a series of young adult books focusing on DC comic characters. Batman is preceded by Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and will be followed by Catwoman: Soulstealer and an untitled Superman novel.

What sets these apart from other superhero focused novels? This particular series focuses on the characters in their teen years. Both Wonder Woman and Batman focused on a first-ever heroic adventure for the titular character. For Batman: Nightwalker this is especially true. It focuses on Bruce Wayne, and shows his growing interest in becoming a vigilante, but never has him wear a costume, or mention his eventual identity.

In Batman: Nightwalker, Bruce turns of age, and with that, gains a lot more responsibility. When he leaves his 18th birthday benefit event early, he spontaneously joins a car chase involving a member of an elusive criminal group in Gotham City, the Nightwalkers. His intervention in the law sentences him to community service at Arkham Asylum, where he encounters Madeleine, a Nightwalker member who never speaks in an interrogation…until she sees Bruce.

By focusing more on the mystery, and on Bruce’s tendency for unsolicited investigative work, the book brings the reader back to what actually makes Batman interesting. (It’s not the costume, or the tech.) This book is also another reminder of how badly I need to read Marie Lu’s older books. Between this, and the upcoming publication of Wildcard (the highly anticipated sequel to Warcross), Lu is shaping up to have a strong year in young adult fiction publishing.

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