Just look at the size of that hat! My god, how can the Bat cope with that? Maybe he can chop off its top. Then give it a plop. With a lump of coal and a known female cat. Slap-Slap! Or alternatively, ignore what I've just said, and just read this adventure devised by the Writer: Gregg Hurwitz; the Artist: Ethan Van Sciver; and the Publisher: DC Comics, in April 2013.

Using GENERAL terms, answer the following 4 questions about this STORY entitled 'Devils Bargain'.
  • WHAT'S THE MAIN THRUST OF THIS TALE: If he can keep his hormones in check, everyone's favourite Dark Knight Detective -- Batman -- has to battle his way through Gotham City's dark underbelly, so that he can catch everyone's second favourite hat wearing wacko -- The Mat Hatter.
  • ARE THE MAIN OBJECTIVES ACHIEVED: No. Not yet. But things are looking very interesting, folks. Ha!
  • ANYTHING ELSE HAPPEN: Yeah. Two things actually. Firstly, we learn a little bit more about why the Hatter is 'pharmaceutically' like he is. And secondly, after a steamy one on one with Catwoman, Bruce Wayne finds a spot in his schedule to shock Natalyia out of her pants.
  • HOW DOES THIS STORY END: With the Hatter popping his top!

All in all, what is the most memorable SENTENCE OR CONVERSATION spoken in this issue?
Picture the scene. Batman is in the process of confronting Tweedle-Dee, and he allows this overweight twin to drivel on and on and on, about how hard he's had it after their last brash encounter together. Then, once he's finished, Batman takes a moment to contemplate what he's just heard, before replying back to him with...

'Two tellers were shot during that robbery. A single farther. And a young woman, working her way through college. I catch you on the wrong side again, Tweedle-Dee, I'll break that jaw clear off'.

Ha! I loved it. It was like a seventies movie where Dirty Harry was intimidating some stooge.

What are the BEST bits about this issue?
(+) My God! Bruce's reveal to Natalyia just knocked me for a six. I mean... Wow! What next? A forming of a new alliance? Or something totally unexpected? Furthermore, I did like how this scene worked in contrast to the previous Mad Hatter modern day 'Alice' scene; because it showed two very different sides of the very same coin. Brutal, yet differentiating.   
(+) Another real eye opener for me was the notion that Jervis Tetch's current 'condition' was brought about by a 'clinical trial' to prevent his stunted growth. Not only was this a very new slant on a rather old origin, but it's brought a new innovative take on a 'raison d'etre' too.
(+) Gregg and Ethan's words and arts work so well together, I've almost forgotten the name of that chap who drew this book previously. What was it again? Fish?

What are the WORST bits about this issue?
(-) Although I could understand why Catwoman was used in this tale -- as a reason to make Bruce feel a bit randy -- in the same breath, she wasn't really needed, was she? She just showed us her pert ass. Pinched Batman's hubcaps. And trotted off again. All within a page and a half.  

Choose TWO CHARACTERS out of this comic book, and then compare them to two REAL LIFE PEOPLE.
STEPHEN JONES AS JERVIS TETCH: According to Wiki-Wiki, Mister Jones 'is considered one of the world's most radical and important milliners of the late 20th and early 21st centuries'. According to me though, he looks like a nutter that makes hats. Nuff said.

GEORGE CLOONEY AS BATMAN: No. I haven't chosen George because he played the Dark Knight in that bloody awful 'Batman and Robin' film. Instead, I've chosen him because his love-life -- like Bruce's -- is rather... err... 'up and down', so to speak, ha!

What QUOTE would be appropriate to sum-up this story?
'A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is - full of surprises' -- Isaac Bashevis Singer

What SONG, THEME-TUNE, or MELODY, would complement this tale, as well as add and extra dimension to it by default?
'YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR HAT ON' BY JOE COCKER: Do I really have to explain to you why this sexy and Hat-themed song is such a perfect match for this story? No. I didn't think so either.

Once I finished reading this instalment of 'The Dark Knight', I came away from it feeling very happy with what I've read, whilst feeling somewhat quizzical at the same time.

OK, so maybe I'm looking too deeply here, but what is this story trying to say? Is it saying that you should be careful with 'clinical trials'? Is it saying that you should take a chance when your gut instincts tell you to? Or is it saying something else all together?

See what I mean? All very poignant topics to contemplate on, huh?

GIVE IT, IT'S DUES: If This Comic Book Was 'A Dumb Thing to Do'; It Would Be Someone Sticking Their Wet Finger Into A Live Plug Socket. Just shocking.

THE DARK KNIGHT #18 THE DARK KNIGHT #18 Reviewed by David Andrews on April 22, 2013 Rating: 5
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