Warning: This post contains spoilers for Batman #62 by Tom King, Mitch Gerads and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Batman's life usually isn't very happy, but 2018 was especially rough for the Dark Knight. After a highly-publicized engagement, Catwoman left him at the altar and fled Gotham City. A few months later, Dick Grayson, his adoptive son, apparently lost a lifetime of memories after being shot in the head by the assassin KGBeast.
On top of that, the super-strong mastermind Bane has launched a massive campaign against Batman with a team of villains, including someone who appears to be an alternate reality version of Thomas Wayne, Batman's father.
But instead of dealing with those external issues, Batman #62 continues the "Knightmares" storyline by taking a close look at Batman's mind, which reveals a tremendous amount about how Batman thinks on a conscious, and possibly subconscious, level.
Despite the issue's cerebral nature, it depicts a bloody fight between Batman and Professor Pyg in brutal detail. While Pyg's schemes usually involve turning his victims into obedient Dollotrons, he only has a knife in this issue, which he uses in close quarters combat with Batman.
After Batman wakes up to find himself kidnapped and strung up in a slaughterhouse, he describes how he frees himself and fights Pyg in excruciating detail. While it's not totally clear if these events are really happening to the Dark Knight, this story conveys a tremendous amount of visceral sensory information, from the issue's sickly green and blood-red palette, to the copper taste of blood in Batman's mouth and the stench of animal carcasses.
During their critically-acclaimed, mind-bending run on Mister Miracle, Tom King, Mitch Gerads and Clayton Cowles used various techniques involving color and focus to toy with the nature of the book's reality. In some of this issue's more disorienting moments, panels and characters similarly blur or focus in the heat of battle, especially when Batman's woozy from taking a hit.
During the battle, Batman's running narration reveals what goes through his mind during the kinds of fights that most readers have seen him go through a thousand times. As he continuously reassesses and evaluates the situation, Batman considers everything from combat tactics to how he's presenting himself or showing weakness to his opponent.
For anyone who's played Batman: The Telltale Series or Batman: The Enemy Within, Telltale Games' Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style Batman video games, or decided how to attack a group of enemies in one of Batman's Arkham games, this kind of thinking should be familiar.
Altogether, these elements combine to give this comic a visceral quality that puts the reader in Bruce Wayne's shoes and experience a fight as Batman. While it's not as immersive as virtual reality, this is as close to a first-person experience as you can find in mainstream superhero comics.