The Japanese are in town and someone’s slicing off people’s faces. Are the two connected? Yes. Time for a slightly mad billionaire to take on the foreigners -
About the only noteworthy thing about this one is the way Yoshinori Natsume’s drawn Batman: he’s accentuated his dong AND given him a banana hammock to wear! It’s so funny to see Dirk Diggler Batman swinging into action.
There are flashbacks to Bruce’s time training in Japan before becoming Batman which are meh though I don’t get how the Bruce of the flashbacks looks anything like present-day Bruce. I get that present-day Bruce is older but the character design is still off.
Natsume asks what the REAL mask is, Bruce Wayne or Batman - wooooah, so deep. Oh wait, Bruce is ALWAYS asked this fucking question! And the whole “love conquering hate” thing is a typical manga theme. Zero original ideas in this one.
The face-slicey mystery is dull with Batman stumbling across the answer rather than figuring it out as the World’s Greatest Detective. It’s not even an interesting reveal or one that makes sense – it’s underwhelming and only underlines how forgettable this outing is.
Not sure why DC commissioned this one for Western audiences – maybe just as a novelty for Batman readers, have a Japanese Batman story done in manga-style? It is an unusual format for Batman but it would’ve been better if the story was any good. The artwork is nice, particularly the Oni mask designs, and it was cool seeing Batman fighting skeleton samurais, but Death Mask’s definitely not worth bothering with.