Batman Annual #3 Is a Portrait Of One Of Comics’ Greatest Characters

by Tony Thornley

Alfred Pennyworth is one of the most stalwart and reliable supporting characters in comics. You could dismiss him as a stiff shirt, but Batman Annual #3 gives him a spotlight that he deserves.
Batman (2016-) Annual #3
Wrapped in a great cover by Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair, Tom Taylor, Otto Schmidt and Troy Peteri tell a story about Alfred over the course of one of Batman’s cases, primarily one spectacularly bad night. It’s a fantastic character study, but also a thrilling action story.
While Batman hunts down a villain calling himself the Drone, Alfred takes care of things at home. He anticipates Bruce’s needs, prepares him soup (to help with the flu that he’s ignoring), and readies the Batwing. However, he’s called into the city to rescue an injured Batman, which causes injury to himself as well. In the aftermath, the two men bond, as Bruce looks at his father figure with the respect he often forgets.
Batman (2016-) Annual #3
It’s a simple done-in-one story. Taylor takes a relatively simple plot though and fills it with emotion and excellent character work. It’s not just a character study though, as he’s still able to tell an exciting story, both in the superhero sense, and the tense moments following Bruce’s injury. It all ends with a fantastic final interaction between Bruce and Alfred, and an emotional reveal of the story’s title that’s probably the best title reveal that I’ve ever seen in nearly 30 years of reading comics.
Batman (2016-) Annual #3
Schmidt was the right choice to draw this story. His DC work in the last few years has proven his skill in drawing superheroics, which is on full display here. However, he’s also able to depict the range of emotion Alfred goes through on a typical night, from worry to relief, and anger to determination. He sells every moment of what Taylor gives him in the script with great work on both lines and colors.
Batman (2016-) Annual #3
Annuals are often considered disposable, but this story is a must for any Batman fan.
Batman Annual #3 is available now from DC Comics.

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