This week’s Batman The Murder Machine gives us the origin story of the Batman-Cyborg hybrid known as the Murder Machine. We take a look at what happened to this alternate reality Batman and why he’s suddenly become part Batman and part machine.

Last week, DC Comics released the first one-shot Red Death and this week, its the Murder Machine’s turn to shine. Another active participant in this chaos that is Dark Nights: Metal is The Batman Who Laughs who you can check out in my coverage of Gotham Resistance.

Batman: The Murder Machine is written by Frank Tieri.

So a bit of context for the issue. This happens after Batman becomes the portal for Barbatos and the evil Dark Knights. This happens after Superman and Wonder Woman get zapped by Barbatos during the ending of Dark Nights: Metal # 2 and concurrently happens while Gotham Resistance is happening in Gotham City. I’m also assuming that this happens AFTER the events of Red Death where The Flash (Barry Allen) goes up against the Speedster.

This is set in the Justice League watchtower with Dr. Silas Stone working together with his son, Victor Stone aka Cyborg. After getting duped into thinking its Batman that ‘ports back to the orbital base, Cyborg is beaten by the Murder Machine.

We then get a flashback to this version of Batman’s past, where its revealed that Wayne Manor was attacked by several Batman baddies namely Bane, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn and Two-Face.

Till the very end, Alfred protects Bruce’s identity and denies that he knows Bruce are Batman are one and the same. Even after Bane breaks the poor man’s back.

A very distraught Batman then continually punishes himself by watching the footage of the attack rather than attend the funeral for Pennyworth. He even rejects the league’s condolences and please to get back to ceremony.

It’s there that Batman asks for Cyborg’s help in developing and finishing the “Alfred Protocol” which is pretty much an AI version of Alfred. ¬†We skip some time and go back to the present where Murder Machine Batman continues to beat up Vic. Then another flashback where we see Bane trying to flee Gotham City but gets surrounded by Alfred holograms.

We then learn that Batman pretty much lost control of the AI and while it goes berserk outside, the Alfred virus cannot penetrate the Batcave.

Sucky part about this is that while it’s a flashback tale, everything juicy and visually appealing happens off-panel. We never see Batman get transformed into the Murder Machine. Nor do we see how efficient the villain was in taking out the Justice League. It’s all just mentioned. Except for Cyborg.

The dude puts up a fight but is just no match for Batman and his augmented form.

We also get to see an appearance of the Batman Who Laughs character in the past, presumably to recruit Cyborg-Batman into Barbatos’ circle. He also makes an appearance in the present time which I’ll do a separate blog post on.

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