One must assume Batman: Through the Looking Glass was a Legends of the Dark Knight story arc DC didn’t get around to publishing. It’s hard to imagine reading it in issues though, since Bruce Jones’s script is so geared for one sitting. It’s Batman guest starring in Alice in Wonderland, with wonderful art from Sam Keith. It shouldn’t work, yet it does.
A lot of the success is due to Keith. His style fits a Wonderland adaptation, especially this one–characters, depending on the panel, are either fully rendered as anamorphic or their human traits come through. And seeing a forcibly playful rendering of Batman’s habitat is a lot of fun.
Jones’s script has three things going on. First, Batman’s tripping his way through Wonderland. Second, there’s a mystery. Third, there’s Bruce’s damaged psyche. In order for Bruce to solve the mystery–or even recognize it–everything’s got to come together. But it’s a small story; there’s a large, complicated cast, but it’s really just Batman and his sidekick, an Alice stand-in. Splitting the story into issues instead of chapters in one volume would just make it more incomprehensible… and it’s fairly incomprehensible now.
While Jones barely gets personal with Batman–the tripping aside–he and Keith do come up with some interesting “revisions” to the Batman legend. Glass ostensibly tells of Batman’s first encounter with the Mad Hatter, but Robin not wearing a mask is far more interesting.
Glass is wildly creative, bewilderingly confusing and a moderate success.
Writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Sam Keith; colorist, David Baron; letterer, Steve Wands; editor, Mike Carlin; publisher, DC Comics.
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