"The seven most dangerous Batmen that never were..." starts with The Red Death and let me just say that this villain origin comic is action packed start to finish. There is definitely not a want of action. With that being said though, there isn't too much happening in this until you hit the end...and that's where things get real. So lets take a look at this speed forced laced issue and find out if it worth the pull of if it's best to pass.
At it's core, this is a story about how Dark Multiverse Batman Flash came to be; and how he ended up on the nightmare squad. In that regard it is a great origin story that covers all the questions you have about this character. You also learn about how the Dark Multiverse came into existence and based off of what I read...yeah! I'd be a little pissed to if I was anyone of these characters. The issue starts with narration by The Batman Who Laughs and that's just fucking stellar. It adds a level of depth to the composition that makes you interested in what's coming next. He has a line in the issue where a says: "...one bad day can kill a word. But one bad week? That could kill a multiverse." Like what!? Insane! This character has just been really well written so far and I love getting more and more of him. Joshua Williamson really pulls at your heart strings a bit. This battle between Batman and The Flash is really a good one. Batman has some extra toys in this encounter that he borrowed from a few villains this really helps get across that Batman in this universe is desperate and will do anything to be a better, stronger, faster "hero". The art in this book is top notch. The art style fits the tone that Williamson is trying to convey why the colors give you that sense of hopeless and dread these ""heroes" come from.
There's just not a lot going on. I mean you get short blurbs of information about this or that, but over all it's very dry. That's not to say that it's not good but I just felt as though it was lacking something. This issue also tries to play as though The Batman Who Laughs is some hidden figure organizing this team from the shadows. This would have been fine if they didn't already debut him. I think it would have been a far better reveal at the end. Like after he's done telling everyone else's story. He tells his own. However, this is just me splitting hairs at this point.The other issue I have with this issue is that The Flash is too slow. There should never be an instance where and older, tired, beaten Batman gets the drop on a Flash...I don't care what Multiverse they're in. This has always been my problem with Batman stories in general. They always over play his ability when he's nothing more than a man in a bat costume. I mean hey, maybe that's just my bias shining through being a hardcore Flash fan, but still...the man moves faster than thought but the bats gets the drop on him. Just feels like a laps in what otherwise was pretty solid writing.
I don't know if this is a spoiler or not, so proceed with caution as I drift into the realm of how The Red Death got is powers. So scroll past if you want to avoid. . .So I know I just critiqued Batman being nothing more than man...well on the flip side his rise to glory was in fact glorious. Strapping Barry to a bat tank or something Mad Max style, with a engine designed off the specs of the cosmic treadmill to drive him and Barry right in to the speed force! #GTFOH! Then they go straight fusions HA! and become one being! Just amazing.
You can't not be impressed with that. Many kudos to Williamson for this one because I definitely never saw it coming. And this is were the lettering really shines because Barry is like a conscious to The Red Death that makes you feel even more sorry for the duo.
So back to the question at hand. Pull or pass. Well OBVIOUSLY the answer is pull. I don't think any other story is gonna top the shock and awe of this one. It does enough to actually make you feel bad for this Dark Multiverse without making you forget that these guys are bat shit crazy. *Pun intended*. Also I mentioned that the end is where you get the big payoff. Well, you're not gonna want to miss that jaw dropping moment at the end where a certain someone else loses everything.