Review by Ian Keogh
Despite some points signifying it was produced in 1987, Son of the Demon is a generally solid Batman graphic novel packed with unusual circumstances. Three years later Mike W. Barr produced a sequel.
Bride of the Demon is nowhere near as convincing as its predecessor. In that the dialogue may have lapsed into explanation, but at least a relative subtlety infused the story. Ra’s Ghul has deteriorated distressingly. Here he’s the epitome of arrogant pomposity, and might as well be the Red Skull as he struts about referring to those working for him as “lackey”, and “incompetents” before asking if he must do everything himself. The lovey-dovey alternative is little better, greasy rather than charming, and it’s not the only unconvincing characterisation. Ignore that, and there’s a serviceable action thriller as Barr concocts a suitably grandiose plan fitting Ra’s Al Ghul’s view of ecological terrorism being necessary to save the planet. He want to fix the hole in the ozone layer, but as ever, his methods have other consequences.
Further dragging Bride of the Demon down is the art. Tom Grindberg is inspired by the work of Neal Adams as Jerry Bingham was before, but his pages are more poor impersonation, rather than use of stylistic devices. Grindberg can approximate the way Adams draws, but has none of his dynamism when it comes to page layout and panel design. The result is a crowded mess that doesn’t always tell the story effectively.
Much the same applies to Barr. He includes comparisons of fatherhood, including Bruce Wayne’s stewardship of Tim Drake, sidelined for his own safety, but never cohesively, and for all the ambition of a James Bond style plot, everything crumbles too easily in the final scene. As previously, Barr supplies an epilogue, but one lacking the strong shock of Son of the Demon.
This is now incorporated into Birth of the Demon, which also includes the prequel and sequel, also Birth of the Demon. In the UK partwork series DC Graphic Novel Collection it’s combined with Son of the Demon as Birth of the Demon pt 1.