One and Done – The Bat #1

Rick Shanklin and Mark Wheatley – Writers
Neil Vokes – Artist
Damon Willis – Inker
Kathryn Mayer – Letters

Published in 1990 by Apple Press, this book almost feels like a precursor to Batman and it even features a scene in an alley where a young boy sees his parents murdered in front of him. This time around though, it is a man named Wesley Sharp who has heard the gunshots and who runs into the alley thinking he can help. While he cannot do as such, it does strike a cord deep within him, one that makes him want to take on the criminals in the city and protect the innocent. After a little soul-searching, Sharp does just that in the costume of a bat while taking the animal’s name for himself. Though his first mission does not go according to plan, he learns a valuable lesson and not soon after, he is doling out justice on a regular basis, much to the dismay of the woman he loves. Gwynn thinks he is getting in over his head, that the violence he doles out is becoming far too much, far too brutal, especially when it comes to him killing those he faces. Still, he assures her that he and The Bat are separate entities and that one has nothing to do with the other. Rick Shanklin and Mark Wheatley write a solid, self-contained story that could continue into another series had they wished to all those years ago. Everything one needs to know about The Bat’s origin, his motives and so forth are all laid out. One sees where the man gets his powers from, the addition of a sidekick who also has similar powers and their quest to find the man who if The Bat had a nemesis, would be it. Neil Vokes brings it all to life, his pencils enhanced by Damon Willis and it looks quite good, conveying what it needs to without being overly flashy. As things get more intense, as the action ramps up and the danger becomes more and more a facet of everyday life, the creators of this story bring it all to a head as The Bat meets not only the villain he had been seeking for so long, he also meets his maker. The book does not end there though as he soon comes back to life but no longer is he Wesley Sharp, but some supernatural being akin to the creature that gave him his powers. Nothing can harm him now and it disturbs the woman who accompanies him on his missions, a woman who is none other than Gwynn, Wesley unaware all these years. As Wheatley and Shanklin bring it all to a conclusion, they do so on tragedy and self-sacrifice along with the possibility of a future, one that would never come to pass. A solid little book that ended up being a good read from start to finish.

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