For the first time in it’s 70+ years of publication Batman is getting a second volume, a new #1. This is going to be one of the most watched titles of the relaunch and for my two cents DC couldn’t have picked a better team.
Justice League #1 may have lead us into DC’s relaunched universe and Action Comics #1 may have had all the hype with superstar creator Grant Morrison but make no mistake, Batman is arguably the best selling and most popular comic book character…ever. Not only is he host to one of the most loyal communities of comic book readers/buyers but he’s probably the most popular amongst non comic readers, the kind of readers DC is trying to reach, so you can imagine the pressure behind the success of this issue.
It’s a good thing they nailed it.
Granted, Batman isn’t exactly the hardest sell, a good artist plus a story of Batman punching, batcaving, and solving mysteries is always a winner but this book managed to pull off so much more while covering all it’s bases. This is easily one of the best new-reader-friendly + make-the-current-fans-happy-as-clams single issues I’ve ever read. Writer Scott Snyder gives the reader so much information without one being too aware of the exchange. An initiative to all of DC’s 52 new #1′s is obviously to attract new fans, introduce them to the character’s surroundings and catch them up to speed; this inevitably means lots of who’s who and why they do this and that, a tough task for a guy like Batman who over the years has accumulated quite the entourage, but we get all of it – were introduced to every Robin, 80% of the rogues gallery (old and new), even supporting/minor characters like Vicki Vale or Leslie Thompson all in ways that keep the story flowing. Bruce’s in-ear facial recognition software he wears to a banquet is a perfect example. Batman’s popularity makes it easy to fly past certain details (such as the death of his parents as a child which is only briefly mentioned) but Scott Snyder worked it perfectly, giving us just enough in creative ways without distracting you from the story.
Which is appreciated because I get the feeling Scott Snyder is off to another great Batman story. His previous run in Detective Comics is hailed in very high regard and it doesn’t seem to be a fluke, the guy gets Batman. His subtle moves are some of my favorites, in the first page we get a huge skyscraper in the shape of Batman’s cowl, a literal Batman if you will looming over Gotham. Or Damians choice of shoes at the banquet, his infusion of old and new villains, the single panel with
Kathy Kane Harper Row, all minor details that are icing on the cake to his bigger story. If Snyder fell short anywhere it was in the the cliffhanger. I think it’s safe to assume [spoilers] that Bruce Wayne isn’t going to die “tomorrow” and despite the DNA match Dick Grayson isn’t a murderer. Thankfully Snyder is solid everywhere else and doesn’t need a ‘Holy crap!’ splash page to convince me, I was sold long before I got to the last page.
I can’t go any further without mentioning one of the strongest and most enjoyable elements to the entire book, Greg Capullo’s debut as a Batman artist. Capullo posses the unique ability to create a very animated world without straying far from reality, characters and settings hardly feel cartoony while existing inside a certain creative style. The continuity between the different characters or action scenes vs. dialogue scenes give the book a certain flow, and his style a certain energy. The fresh air that Capullo’s art gives the book brought everything else up a level, this will look great in hardcover.
Personally, this is the issue I’d been waiting for the most since the relaunch announcement. A Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo Batman team-up is already enough to have me throwing money at DC but add to it the significance of a universe-wide relaunch and the stakes get even higher. Any nervousness about this and Batman’s future was swept away as I read this though. Yes, everyone is a little younger and less scared (It’s been awhile since Jim has smiled in a Batman comic) and some of the continuity changes were present but I’ll take good story and exciting future over tweaks to continuity here and there every time. Snyder gave me a fun story, lots of information that didn’t distract, enough humor and nods to keep an old fan like myself smiling and Greg Capullo hit a home run with the art…what more could I ask for?
Whether we agree or not that Batman needed a fresh start this was about the best possible way to do it.
Cannot wait for issue #2.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|One of the best new reader friendly + nod to the old fan issues I’ve ever read. Snyder is off to a great start and Capullo’s art is disgustingly good.||I’m sure if I tried real hard I could find something but I read it and loved it. Read it again, loved it even more. Read it a third time and still loved it.|
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