Last week, DC Comics released a comic in coordination with the TCM channel, Batman in Noir Alley.
This giveaway was produced to promote the channel’s Noir Alley program. What intrigued me the most about this was what was on the back cover.
I can’t think of another instance where the back cover of a comic book was what I was most interested in, but there it was. Towards the bottom you will see the name “Eddie Mueller.” I don’t have TCM so I wasn’t familiar with the program, even though I appreciate noir films, but Mueller’s involvement got my attention.
Mueller wrote two of my favorite books, The Distance and Shadow Boxer.
These noir inspired novels detail the tribulations of reporter Billy Nichols. I LOVE both of these titles and as far as I can tell, they are the only works of fiction Mueller has done. Why this is I don’t know. I would gladly read a series of books by him.
This is what I was so excited for with this comic. Was Mueller writing a Batman story? One of my favorite writers and my favorite character? I thought I had seen the creative team mentioned for this book previously, but couldn’t remember for certain. Surely, Mueller’s name would have been a red flag that I wouldn’t have forgotten.
I quickly turned to the inside cover to the credits and was disappointed. While I don’t have anything against Stuart Moore, I would have been thrilled for a Mueller-penned, noir Batman tale. Of course, it’s not like I threw the book away or anything, I then proceeded to read it.
A few pages in, my previous hopes were paid off, but in a way that I hadn’t expected. This wasn’t a story of Batman written by Eddie Mueller. This is a story of Batman with Eddie Mueller.
After an incident at a movie theater following the theft of the “Moroccan Raptor” statue, Batman spies a shadowy figure and follows him back to his hideout. Once there, it is revealed that this man is Mueller. Interestingly, his lair looks a lot like the set he hosts Noir Alley from.
Their story continues as Batman and Eddie scour the streets in search of the purloined artifact. Eventually, the trail leads them to a troubled young woman who has the statue. Of course that’s where they end up, because this is a noir tale.
This part of the book ends with Batman saying goodbye to Mueller and they both agree that might run into each other again some time.
The second part of this issue is a reprint of the 2001 Batman: Gotham Noir book by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. While this is very appropriate tone wise for this promo book, I’m not sure how relevant it is. If someone liked the preceding section, they are sure to enjoy this too, but I’m not sure if this book is even still in print. It’s probably available digitally (it is), but it feels more like they needed something to pad out the rest of this book.
Overall, this was a fun one-off Batman book co-starring a writer I like. Since I don’t have TCM, I won’t be watching the Noir Alley show this is supporting. Mueller’s involvement means that I would though. Hopefully, this introduction leads to Eddie Mueller scripting some future mysteries for the world’s greatest detective. I can dream anyway, can’t I?