Nightmares and Dreams
Written by: Sean Murphy
Art by: Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 3, 2018
I love this book! It is fun even if it's not really "fun", it looks great, and it's everything I want in a Batman story...even if Batman isn't the major focus of it and it's an Elseworlds tale. Maybe that's why it's so good...Sean Murphy doesn't need to worry about continuity and people like Eric Shea who yell all the time about continuity and so he can settle in and tell a story that's a tribute to so many things while still feeling fresh in and of itself. So, do the good times keep on rolling? Let's find out...
The issue opens by showing that the higher-ups in Gotham are worried about Jack Napier's popularity, but also that Jim Gordon is still a good cop through and through. It all leads to a rally in Backport to announce Napier is running for City Council and I still love the fact that an alt Duke Thomas is in this book!
After Duke gets the crowd hyped, Jack takes the mic and drops knowledge that is nothing new in this book already but means a whole lot to the overlooked and underprivileged of the city. This is where the not so blurry lines between the GCPD and Napier become even more clear...they want to kick his ass or worse!
Things escalate between Bullock (who is a real piece of shit in this book) and Napier and when Batman shows up, Jack uses the opportunity to once again make himself look good and the Dark Knight look bad.
After some talking heads show us that Gotham is starting to listen to Jack's message, we head downtown to hear Napier's plans for Batman and the GCPD. It's all about using the Batman Devastation Fund to finance a new Bat Family/GCPD force called the GTO...the Gothom Terrorist Oppression Unit. I guess the 'unit" is silent! While Gordon doesn't seem keen on it working (or Batman agreeing to it), he warms up to it by issue end.
Meanwhile, we get a night out on the town with Jack and Harley before heading off to see what the other Harley is up to...or should I say Neo Joker...or should I say, Marian? Basically, she is ripping through Gotham with her mind-controlled army. After stealing some GCPD hard drives, she heads over to Jack's and continues her efforts to turn him back into the Joker. While that's not working (yet?), we get her backstory and it's pretty sad, but also well thought out and explains fully why there are two Harley's running about.
The issue ends with the GTO happening with or without Batman, Harley and Jack making plans to walk down the aisle and Nep Joker finding a crazy connection between the Waynes, Mr. Freeze, and the Nazis. I can't wait to see where each of these threads takes us and that's the kicker with this series...there is so much to like!
What else can I say? I continue to love this book and while this is set up heavy, there is still a ton of interesting things going on. The highlight to me was Neo Joker's backstory that made me feel bad even while I had a smile on my face because it all felt so right. After a first issue that was homage heavy, Murphy continues to steer this book in a very fresh and original direction. As a bonus, this book looks fantastic and I will be hard-pressed not to give Murphy my artist of the year award.
Bits and Pieces:
While this middle issue is set up heavy, Sean Murphy gives readers a whole bunch of things to smile about. You'll have to read the issue to find out just what they are, but that and the awesome art are well worth the price of admission. To dig into the reviewer's bag of phrases...you'll pay for the whole seat, but you'll only need the edge!