Infected with a mysterious and incurable virus that slowly destroys the bodies and minds of its victims, Batman finds himself on a hunt for answers across Europe. With less than a week to find a cure, he is forced to team up with none other than the Joker himself, who has also been infected by the virus. Batman must uncover the intentions of a mysterious new enemy while keeping a close eye on the Joker, but as the virus takes its toll, the Dark Knight is faced with a possibility that is darker still: the virus may reduce Gotham’s most famous hero to the level of its most infamous villain. Identities are blurred in this epic four-part arc as the threat of Batman’s impending insanity links him to his greatest adversary in ways he had never considered possible.
When I first picked up Europa I immediately thought of Rocksteady Studios’ Batman: Arkham City. The Joker and Batman are both afflicted with an incurable disease, they team up, various ass-kickings ensue. It was silly of me to make that comparison, though, let me say that much. My first-glance impression does not do justice to the depth of Europa’s storyline. It’s an incredibly harrowing, deeply psychological brand of conflict that stems from so much more than the need to take down a particularly powerful bad guy. It’s not about the end of the world, or even the fate of Gotham. It’s about Batman being faced with the possibility that his entire identity might be destroyed and there is little he can do about it. The book’s frantic, haunting art style is a perfect visual representation of the Batman’s deteriorating mental state. I can only hang on to the edge of my seat with this one, guys. Fantastic read.