Subway Shorts – A Raging Machine

This week’s Dark Nights: Metal tie-in takes us to a world in the Dark Multiverse where Batman steals the power from fellow Leaguer Cyborg. And it’s about as twisted as you’d expect a comic subtitled “The Murder Machine” would be.

Batman: The Murder Machine 1
Written by Frank Tieri 
Art by Riccardo Federici and Rainier Beredo 

In the latest installment of “The Many Ways Batman Be A Dick,” Bruce Wayne is unhealthily mourning the loss of his butler and substitute father, Alfred Pennyworth, who was killed during an attack by Batman’s deadliest foes. Bruce grieves by watching the video of Alfred’s death on repeat and attempting to bring his butler back through a complicated AI system.

His teammates in the Justice League, obviously, think Bruce needs to find a new way to honor Alfred’s memory.

The AI system is the key, of course. But he needs the help of half-man, half-machine Vic Stone – Cyborg – to get it working properly. Unfortunately, since this is the Dark Multiverse, things don’t go properly. The AI kills all of Batman’s Rogues and then wants in to the Batcave. Cyborg tries to take the program offline, but Bruce, who badly wants Alfred back, gives in to the AI’s request.

The program Batman called “The Alfred Protocol” – because he’s wildly unimaginative – surrounds Batman and turns him into something else. It turns him into someONE else.

We should be so lucky…

Cyborg, seeing what a mistake was made by helping Bruce complete the Alfred protocol, tries to shut the whole thing down, but again, things don’t go well for the heroes in the Dark Multiverse.

While the first of these Metal tie-ins was a strong story that offered some emotional ties to the story, The Murder Machine felt like a pedestrian effort that really didn’t do much for me. And the repeated theme of Batman mourning and using his grief to push him towards killing his teammates makes me question whether the other tie-ins are worth picking up. I assume they’ll all follow the same structure in the end.

The art, on the other hand, was really gorgeous, and much better than the story it’s now associated with. The beautiful art isn’t enough to make up for the rather lame story. I don’t really have high hopes for these tie-ins going forward.

  • Dwayne

    Who killed Alfred?