The New 52 Review: Batman #1
DC‘s New 52 relaunch is almost finished, with several hits and a few misses. The titles I was most excited for were Detective Comics and Batman, and if you’ve read my review, you know I was very satisfied with Detective Comics. Now it’s time to turn my attention to Batman #1. Writer Scott Snyder is a relative newcomer to comics, having only been writing since 2009. His last run was on Detective Comics, nearly finishing the run, so my expectations going in were high. Greg Capullo is in charge of artwork, including the cover, with Jonathan Glapian and Fco Plascenia handling the inking and colors.
We start with Batman narrating about the Gotham Gazette and how they run an article entitled “Gotham Is”, a piece that lets Gotham’s own citizens reflect on their city . While reflecting, he also happens to be fighting off a massive breakout from Arkham Asylum. All the regulars line up, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Black Mask, Killer Croc, Riddler, as well as some new faces. Batman is not without his own allies, although this team up is one no one thought they would see. After debriefing Commissioner Gordon on the events and assuring him that a certain rumor is untrue, he races off to attend a party he is throwing as Bruce Wayne. In attendance are three generations of Robins, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne. Bruce unveils his new plan for Gotham: a complete rebuilding of the city’s infrastructure. We also meet mayoral candidate Lincoln March. Bruce and Lincoln share some pleasantries, but duty calls and Batman rushes off to the scene of a brutal murder with a warning to a high powered socialite of Gotham.
Much like with Green Lantern, Batman seems to be relatively untouched by the the relaunch. This issue begins with much of the history intact, and simply opens a new chapter. One problem I had was that the issue felt a little rushed. Though the opening was amazing, it was over before I knew what hit me. It seemed perhaps a bit too easy for Batman to defeat so many foes. The speech given by Wayne also seemed tacked on, as if they were trying to channel some of the anxiety people feel regarding the state of various cities and even the country itself. The writing was good, but nothing stellar and the dialogue was decent at best. The ending sets up the next issue nicely though, and hopefully the story will deliver a little more.
Another complaint I had was regarding the artwork. After the amazing art in Detective Comics #1, this seemed like a step in the wrong direction. No panel stood out above the rest, and the characters looked a little bland. The only way I can really describe it is “indie”, which didn’t seem to fit with the tone of the book. Others may like the style but it wasn’t to my taste.
Overall I’d say it was a bit underwhelming, with nothing that really stands out. It’s not as graphic as it’s counterpart, though there are still some disturbing images in the book and it is darker than most superhero books. If you are a die hard Batman fan, it’s worth the purchase, otherwise you could probably skip it.