Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu is the second of the DC Icons novels.
Finished on: 2.5.2019
[Here’s my review of the first novel in the loose series.]
The Nightwalkers are hunting the rich people of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is about to be one of them – as soon as he turns 18, he will inherit his family’s fortune. But first, he has to do some community service in Arkham Asylum prison. As he scrubs the floors there, he meets Madeleine, one of the Nightwalkers who will talk to nobody but Bruce. But what really is the reason for Madeleine’s apparent confidence in Bruce? Bruce will have to figure out what to do with her and her interest in him – and that’s not all he has to figure out.
Batman: Nightwalker didn’t really work for me. It wasn’t completely bad, but it didn’t dig into Batman as a character as I would have liked. It’s okay to read, but it doesn’t really have staying power.
I have always loved Batman, but the older I’ve grown, the more I realized the problems that come with the very essence of the character: a rich man who does everything to fight the problems in his city except actually change the system that gives rise to them. He could use his wealth to change everything from a capitalist hellscape to one were we see just sharing of ressources. But instead, he beats up criminals and mentally ill people. I would like to see Bruce grapple with that.
Batman: Nightwalker has beginnings of a criticism that hits on those points in the Nightwalkers. I’d say that they are right in their activism (we can discuss the appropriateness of the methods), but the longer the book goes on, the more they come out of focus and by the end, they are almost entirely forgotten.
Another point that made me very anxious about this book is Bruce’s unabashed love of all things technological. There is not a single moment where he questions whether the technology should actually be developed – and when I think about the drones alone, I get a little shiver because of that enthusiasm.
Add to that that I just didn’t vibe with the romance in this one and found things a little predictable, and Batman: Nightwalker became a rather disappointing thing. It wasn’t entirely bad, it’s still a quick read and I loved Dianne and wanted more of her. But overall, it was more meh (and didn’t make me want to check out what else Lu has written). I wished for more.